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1. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Duncan Pritchard The Opacity of Knowledge
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Here is a common ‘intuition’ that you’ll often find expressed regarding the epistemological externalism/internalism distinction. It is the thought that epistemological internalism, whatever its other faults, at least leaves the possession of knowledge a transparent matter; whereas epistemological externalism, whatever its other merits, at least makes the possession of knowledge opaque. It is the status of this view of the externalism/internalism contrast that I wish to evaluate in this paper. In particular, I argue that on the most credible interpretation of this ‘transparency’ thesis it is in fact inconsistent with even a minimal version of epistemological internalism. I conclude that knowledge is opaque on any plausible construal of knowledge, and consider some implications that this result has for the contemporary epistemological debate.
2. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 3 > Issue: 1
Steve Matthews A Hybrid Theory of Environmentalism
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The destruction and pollution of the natural environment poses two problems for philosophers. The first is political and pragmatic: which theory of the environment is best equipped to impact policymakers heading as we are toward a series of potential ecocatastrophes? The second is more central: On the environment philosophers tend to fall either side of an irreconcilable divide. Either our moral concerns are grounded directly in nature, or the appeal is made via an anthropocentric set of interests. The lack of a common ground is disturbing. In this paper I attempt to diagnose the reason for this lack. I shall agree that wild nature lacks features of intrinsic moral worth, and that leaves a puzzle: Why is it once we subtract the fact that there is such a lack, we are left with strong intuitions against the destruction and/or pollution of wild nature? Such intuitions can be grounded only in a strong sense of aesthetic concern combined with a common-sense regard for the interests of sentient life as it is indirectly affected by the quality of the environment. I suggest also that of the positions on offer, a hybrid theory of the environment is best suited to address our first problem, that of having an effective influence in the polity.
3. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 3 > Issue: 1
Yuriko Saito Scenic National Landscapes: Common Themes in Japan and the United States
4. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 3 > Issue: 1
Ken Cussen Aesthetics and Environmental Argument
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The human-centred notion of the “instrumental value of nature” and the eco-centred notion of the “intrinsic value of nature” both fail to provide satisfactory grounds for the preservation of wild nature. This paper seeks to identify some reasons for that failure and to suggest that the structure - though not the content - of the “aesthetic value” approach is the most promising alternative, though the notion of “the aesthetic value of nature”, as usually employed, also fails to capture the real motivation for such preservation. I argue that these problems arise because humans are, for good reasons, deeply ambivalent about their relation to nature. This ambivalence is explained in a Nietzschean context and I argue that an understanding of this ambivalence can be used to develop and illustrate a fuller and richer understanding of what we mean by “the value of nature” which does provide grounds for the preservation of wild nature.
5. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 3 > Issue: 1
Thomas Heyd Nature Restoration Without Dissimulation: Learning from Japanese Gardens and Earthworks
6. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 3 > Issue: 1
Emily Brady Interpreting Environments
7. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 3 > Issue: 1
William O. Stephens If Friendship Hurts, an Epicurean Deserts: A Reply to Andrew Mitchell
8. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 3 > Issue: 1
Andrew Mitchell A Response to the Reply of William O. Stephens to “Friendship Amongst the Self-Sufficient: Epicurus”
9. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Simon Trepanier The Structure of Empedocles’ Fragment 17
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Fragment 17 of Empedocles has long been recognized as the most important in the corpus. In 1998, the significance of this 35-line fragment was further increased by the publication of the Strasbourg papyrus, containing roughly 74 lines of Empedocles.
10. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 5 > Issue: 1
William Fish The Direct/Indirect Distinction in Contemporary Philosophy of Perception
11. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 5 > Issue: 1
Paul Coates Wilfrid Sellars, Perceptual Consciousness and Theories of Attention
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The problem of the richness of visual experience is that of finding principled grounds for claims about how much of the world a person actually sees at any given moment. It is argued that there are suggestive parallels between the two-component analysis of experience defended by Wilfrid Sellars, and certain recently advanced information processing accounts of visual perception. Sellars' later account of experience is examined in detail, and it is argued that there are good reasons in support of the claim that the sensory nonconceptual content of experience can vary independently of conceptual awareness. It is argued that the Sellarsian analysis is not undermined by recent work on change blindness and related phenomena; a model of visual experience developed by Ronald Rensink is shown to be in essential harmony with the framework provided by Sellars, and provides a satisfactory answer to the problem of the richness of visual experience.
12. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 5 > Issue: 1
David DeMoss Hunting Fat Gnu: How to Identify a Proxytype
13. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 5 > Issue: 1
Jeffrey S. Galko Ontology and Perception
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The ontological question of what there is, from the perspective of common sense, is intricately bound to what can be perceived. The above observation, when combined with the fact that nouns within language can be divided between nouns that admit counting, such as ‘pen’ or ‘human’, and those that do not, such as ‘water’ or ‘gold’, provides the starting point for the following investigation into the foundations of our linguistic and conceptual phenomena. The purpose of this paper is to claim that such phenomena are facilitated by, on the one hand, an intricate cognitive capacity, and on the other by the complex environment within which we live. We are, in a sense, cognitively equipped to perceive discrete instances of matter such as bodies of water. This equipment is related to, but also differs from, that devoted to the perception of objects such as this computer. Behind this difference in cognitive equipment underlies a rich ontology, the beginnings of which lies in the distinction between matter and objects. The following paper is an attempt to make explicit the relationship between matter and objects and also provide a window to our cognition of such entities.
14. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 5 > Issue: 1
Massimo Grassia Consciousness and Perceptual Attention: A Methodological Argument
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Our perception of external features comprises, among others, functional and phenomenological levels. At the functional level, the perceiver’s mind processes external features according to its own causal-functional organization. At the phenomenological level, the perceiver has consciousness of external features. The question of this paper is: How do the functional and the phenomenological levels of perception relate to each other? The answer I propose is that functional states of specifically perceptual attention constitute the necessary basis for the arising of consciousness in a perceiver.Widely studied within cognitive psychology, perceptual attention is still awaiting a thoroughgoing philosophical treatment. The paper presents and draws upon Anne Treisman’s feature-integration theory of attention (cf. A. Treisman & G. Gelade, “A Feature-Integration Theory of Attention,” Cognitive Psychology, 12, 1980. Pp. 97-136). According to this theory, attentional mechanisms are responsible for the binding of perceptual features into coherent and stable objects of perception. By itself, I will claim, the theory of feature integration does not allow a straightforward reduction of consciousness to the functional processing underlying it. However, on the basis of Treisman’s theory we can produce a methodological argument for endorsing the non-reductivist thesis that attentional states constitute the necessary basis for the arising of consciousness in a perceiver. The paper closes by presenting this argument, according to which the thesis is implied by a unified account of the common representational natures of attentional and conscious states.
15. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 5 > Issue: 1
David Newman Chaos and Qualia
16. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 5 > Issue: 1
Uriah Kriegel Perceptual Experience, Conscious Content, and Non-Conceptual Content
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One of the promising approaches to the problem of perceptual consciousness has been the representational theory, or representationalism. The idea is to reduce the phenomenal character of conscious perceptual experiences to the representational content of those experiences. Most representationalists appeal specifically to non-conceptual content in reducing phenomenal character to representational content. In this paper, I discuss a series of issues involved in this representationalist appeal to non-conceptual content. The overall argument is the following. On the face of it, conscious perceptual experience appears to be experience of a structured world, hence to be at least partly conceptual. To validate the appeal to non-conceptual content, the representationalist must therefore hold that the content of experience is partly conceptual and partly non-conceptual. But how can the conceptual and the non-conceptual combine to form a single content? The only way to make sense of this notion, I argue, leads to a surprising consequence, namely, that the representational approach to perceptual consciousness is a disguised form of functionalism.
17. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Paola Cavalieri Silent Parties: A Problem for Liberalism?
18. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Susan J. Armstrong Introduction
19. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Bart Gruzalski The Ability To Be Moral Fails To Show That Humans are More Valuable Than Nonhuman Animals
20. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Andrew Linzey ‘The Powers That Be’: Mechanisms that Prevent us Recognising Animal Sentience