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41. Symposion: Volume > 3 > Issue: 1
Jan Bransen Learning to Act
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In this paper I argue that to understand minded agency – the capacity we typically find instantiated in instances of human behaviour that could sensibly be questioned by asking “What did you do?” – one needs to understand childhood, i.e. the trajectory of learning to act. I discuss two different types of trajectory, both of which seem to take place during childhood and both of which might be considered crucial to learning to act: a growth of bodily control (GBC) and a growth in taking responsibility (GTR). The discussion of GTR takes up about half of the entire paper. In the final two sections I argue that GTR is the most promising trajectory in terms of which to understand a child’s process of learning to act.
42. Symposion: Volume > 3 > Issue: 1
Alexandru Dragomir An Interpretation of McCall’s “Real Possible Worlds” and His Semantics for Counterfactuals
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McCall (1984) offered a semantics of counterfactual conditionals based on “real possible worlds” that avoids using the vague notion of similarity between possible worlds. I will propose an interpretation of McCall’s counterfactuals in a formal framework based on Baltag-Moss-Solecki events and protocols. Moreover, I will argue that using this interpretation one can avoid an objection raised by Otte (1987).
43. Symposion: Volume > 3 > Issue: 1
Ion Iuga Transhumanism Between Human Enhancement and Technological Innovation
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Transhumanism introduces from its very beginning a paradigm shift about concepts like human nature, progress and human future. An overview of its ideology reveals a strong belief in the idea of human enhancement through technologically means. The theory of technological singularity, which is more or less a radicalisation of the transhumanist discourse, foresees a radical evolutionary change through artificial intelligence. The boundaries between intelligent machines and human beings will be blurred. The consequence is the upcoming of a post-biological and posthuman future when intelligent technology becomes autonomous and constantly self-improving. Considering these predictions, I will investigate here the way in which the idea of human enhancement modifies our understanding of technological innovation. I will argue that such change goes in at least two directions. On the one hand, innovation is seen as something that will inevitably lead towards intelligent machines and human enhancement. On the other hand, there is a direction such as “Singularity University,” where innovation is called to pragmatically solving human challenges. Yet there is a unifying spirit which holds together the two directions and I think it is the same transhumanist idea.
44. Symposion: Volume > 3 > Issue: 1
Irina Rotaru The Self-Other Relationship Between Transcendental and Ethical Inquiries
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This paper discusses two approaches of the relationship between subjectivity and intersubjectivity. The Husserlian one, a transcendental phenomenological investigation of the possibility of subjectivity and intersubjectivity, and the Waldenfelsian one, an ethical phenomenological investigation of day to day intersubjective interactions. Both authors pretend to give account of the conditions of possibility of intersubjective interaction. However, Husserl starts with the investigation of the transcendental structure of subjectivity, that is, the fundamental conditions required for the appearance of consciousness. By contrast, Waldenfels looks first at practical interaction and draws conclusions on the deeper structure of subjectivity based on the traces he discovers to be characteristic for this interaction. Our interest lies in determining which of the two approaches should be given priority for the investigation of the constitution of intersubjectivity.
45. Symposion: Volume > 3 > Issue: 1
Roxana Patraș Ways of Forgetting and Remembering the Eloquence of the 19th Century: Editors of Romanian Political Speeches
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The paper presents a critical evaluation of the existing anthologies of Romanian oratory and analyzes the pertinence of a new research line: how to trace back the foundations of Romanian versatile political memory, both from a lexical and from an ideological point of view. As I argue in the first part of the paper, collecting and editing the great speeches of Romanian orators seems crucial for today’s understanding of politics (politicians’ speaking/ actions as well as voters’ behavior/ electoral habits). In the second part, I focus on the particularities generated by a dramatic change of media support (in the context of Romania’s high rates of illiteracy at the end of the 19th century): from “writing” information on the slippery surface of memory (declaimed political texts such as “proclamations,” “petitions,” and “appeals”) to “writing” as such (transcribed political speeches). The last part of the paper problematizes the making of a new canon of Romanian eloquence as well as the opportunity of a new assemblage of oratorical texts, illustrative for the 19th century politics, and endeavors to settle a series of virtual editing principles.
46. Symposion: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
William T. Lynch Social Epistemology Transformed: Steve Fuller’s Account of Knowledge as a Divine Spark for Human Domination
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In his new book, Knowledge: The Philosophical Quest in History, Steve Fuller returns to core themes of his program of social epistemology that he first outlined in his 1988 book, Social Epistemology. He develops a new, unorthodox theology and philosophy building upon his testimony in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District in defense of intelligent design, leading to a call for maximal human experimentation. Beginning from the theological premise rooted in the Abrahamic religious tradition that we are created in the image of God, Fuller argues that the spark of the divine within us distinguishes us from animals. I argue that Fuller’s recent work takes us away from key insights of his original work. In contrast, I advocate for a program of social epistemology rooted in evolutionary science rather than intelligent design, emphasize a precautionary and ecological approach rather than a proactionary approach that favors risky human experimentation, and attend to our material and sociological embeddedness rather than a transhumanist repudiation of the body.
47. Symposion: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Md. Munir Hossain Talukder On “Self-Realization” – The Ultimate Norm of Arne Naess’s Ecosophy T
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This paper considers the foundation of self-realization and the sense of morality that could justify Arne Naess’s claim ‘Self-realization is morally neutral,’ by focusing on the recent debate among deep ecologists. Self-realization, the ultimate norm of Naess’s ecosophy T, is the realization of the maxim ‘everything is interrelated.’ This norm seems to be based on two basic principles: the diminishing of narrow ego, and the integrity between the human and non-human worlds. The paper argues that the former is an extension of Plato’s idea of self-development or self-mastery while the latter is implicit in Aristotle’s holism. It defends that Self-realization is morally neutral only if the term ‘moral’ is considered in the Kantian sense. However, Naess reluctantly distinguishes between ethics and morality, which makes his approach less credible. The paper concludes that Aristotle’s notion of eudaimonia supports Self-realization to qualify as a virtue.
48. Symposion: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Steve Fuller Social Epistemology for Theodicy without Deference: Response to William Lynch
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This article is a response to William Lynch’s, ‘Social Epistemology Transformed: Steve Fuller’s Account of Knowledge as a Divine Spark for Human Domination,’ an extended and thoughtful reflection on my Knowledge: The Philosophical Quest in History. I grant that Lynch has captured well, albeit critically, the spirit and content of the book – and the thirty-year intellectual journey that led to it. In this piece, I respond at two levels. First, I justify my posture towards my predecessors and contemporaries, which Lynch shrewdly sees as my opposition to deference. However, most of the response concerns an elaboration of my theodicy-focussed sense of social epistemology, which is long-standing but only started to become prominent about ten years ago, in light of my involvement in the evolution controversies. Here I aim to draw together a set of my abiding interests – scientific, theological and philosophical – in trying to provide a normative foundation for the future of humanity.
49. Symposion: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Marlon Jesspher B. De Vera Freedoms and Rights in a Levinasian Society of Neighbors
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This paper attempts to argue that a radically different notion of freedoms and rights that originates from the other, that is founded on the infinite responsibility for the other, and that demands an encounter with the other as pure alterity, could be a plausible starting point towards the conception and possible realization of a Levinasian society of neighbors. First, an explication is made on why a radical change in the area of freedoms and rights could be the starting point towards a social, political, and moral philosophical framework based on the radical philosophy of Levinas as elaborated in his Otherwise than Being or Beyond Essence. Then, a discussion on conventional conceptions of freedoms and rights, particularly those based on liberalism, libertarianism, and utilitarianism, is presented as groundwork for a comparative analysis between these conventional conceptions and a radical notion that would be entailed by a conception of a Levinasian society of neighbors. Lastly, an attempt is made to characterize a radically different conception of freedoms and rights based on the philosophy of Levinas and to argue how it could be the starting point towards the conception and possible realization of a Levinasian society of neighbors.
50. Symposion: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Katerina Deligiorgi Autonomy in Bioethics
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Autonomy in bioethics is coming under sustained criticism from a variety of perspectives. The criticisms, which target personal or individual autonomy, are largely justified. Moral conceptions of autonomy, such as Kant's, on the other hand, cannot simply be applied in bioethical situations without moralizing care provision and recipience. The discussion concludes with a proposal for re-thinking autonomy by focusing on what different agents count as reasons for choosing one rather than another course of action, thus recognising their involvement in the decision process.
51. Symposion: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Horaţiu Traian Crişan Reparations for Recent Historical Injustices: The Case of Romanian Communism
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The debate concerning the legitimacy of awarding reparations for historical injustices focuses on the issue of finding a proper moral justification for granting reparations to the descendants of the victims of injustices which took place in the remote past. Regarding the case of Romanian communism as a more recent injustice, and analyzing the moral problems entailed by this historical lapse, within this paper I argue that overcoming such a legacy cannot be carried out, as in the case of historical injustices situated more remotely in time, through the means of selective reparations, such as restitutions or compensations. For, even though they are justified from the perspective of rectificatory justice, selective reparations do not fulfill the requirements of social justice. Rather, I argue that the fall of the Romanian communist regime should have been followed by an equal distribution of all properties illegitimately seized by the state, to all adult Romanian citizens at that time, in order to attain the imperative of equal distribution of property among all citizens. The equal distribution thesis is the only way through which the Romanian society could have complied, at that moment of political and social renewal, with the requirements of justice. I also aim at explaining why other principles of justice, which either have or could have been implemented, cannot be properly justified. Finally, I analyze two main objections which could be invoked against my thesis, namely the economic efficiency objection and the legal realist objection.
52. Symposion: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Gideon Calder Family Autonomy and Class Fate
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The family poses problems for liberal understandings of social justice, because of the ways in which it bestows unearned privileges. This is particularly stark when we consider inter-generational inequality, or ‘class fate’ – the ways in which inequality is transmitted from one generation to the next, with the family unit ostensibly a key conduit. There is a recognized tension between the assumption that families should as far as possible be autonomous spheres of decision-making, and the assumption that we should as far as possible equalize the life chances of all children, regardless of background. In this article I address this tension by way of recent liberal egalitarian literature, and consideration of the different dimensions of class fate. I argue, firstly, that the tension may not be of the a priori nature which liberals have tended to identify – and secondly, that as well as distributive and recognition-based aspects, the notion of contributive justice provides a particularly illuminating way of analyzing what is wrong about class fate, and the role of the family in promoting it.
53. Symposion: Volume > 3 > Issue: 3
Fred Adams, Charlotte Shreve What Can Synesthesia Teach Us About Higher Order Theories of Consciousness?
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In this article, we will describe higher order thought theories (socalled H.O.T. theories) of consciousness. Then we will describe some examples from synesthesia. Finally, we will explain why the latter may be relevant to the former.
54. Symposion: Volume > 3 > Issue: 3
Arnold Cusmariu A Methodology for Teaching Logic-Based Skills to Mathematics Students
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Mathematics textbooks teach logical reasoning by example, a practice started by Euclid; while logic textbooks treat logic as a subject in its own right without practical application to mathematics. Stuck in the middle are students seeking mathematical proficiency and educators seeking to provide it. To assist them, the article explains in practical detail how to teach logic-based skills such as: making mathematical reasoning fully explicit; moving from step to step in a mathematical proof in logically correct ways; and checking to make sure inferences are logically correct. The methodology can easily be extended beyond the four examples analyzed.
55. Symposion: Volume > 3 > Issue: 3
Wim de Muijnck Good Fit versus Meaning in Life
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Meaning in life is too important not to study systematically, but doing so is made difficult by conceptual indeterminacy. An approach to meaning that is promising but, indeed, conceptually vague is Jonathan Haidt’s ‘cross-level coherence’ account. In order to remove the vagueness, I propose a concept of ‘good fit’ that a) captures central aspects of meaning as it is discussed in the literature; b) brings the subject of meaning under the survey of the dynamicist or ‘embodied-embedded’ philosophy of cognition; and c) allows the theoretical discussion on meaning to become more focused and systematic. The article addresses two apparent problems with the idea of ‘good fit,’ namely the fact that both challenges and relations of an agent with the outside world are central to meaning. It is finally pointed out which implications adopting the concept of ‘good fit’ instead of ‘meaning’ would have.
56. Symposion: Volume > 3 > Issue: 3
George Schedler Blame for Nazi Reprisals
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I examine the blameworthiness of the resistance for Nazi reprisals in three morally disturbing cases which occurred in Nazi occupied Europe. I have organized my argument in the following way. After describing the cases, I propose a set of criteria for assessing the degree to which actors are blameworthy for the deaths of innocents. Using these criteria, I then explore the blameworthiness of the resistance members in these cases. I follow this analysis with an application of the doctrine of double effect. My conclusion that some resistance members are blameworthy using my criteria is confirmed by the application of the doctrine of double effect.
57. Symposion: Volume > 3 > Issue: 3
Ignaas Devisch Multiculturalism, or the Vile Logic of Late Secularism: The Case of Anders Breivik
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More than four years ago, Anders Breivik launched his apocalyptic raid in Norway. His killing raid was not an action standing on its own but a statement to invite people to read his manifesto called 2083. A European Declaration of Independence. The highly despicable and disgusting mission of Anders Breivik addresses us whether we like it or not. Maybe there are good reasons to read and analyze Breivik’s ‘oration?’ He confronts us with many questions we cannot simply run away from: What about the Islamization? How could this happen in secular Norway? What about the role of religion in European societies? In this article, I will argue that Breivik’s plea can only happen from within a secular society in which the homogeneity already has been lost, which allows him to deal with religion and politics on a very specific basis. In no way whatsoever, the context of our secular society forced Breivik to do what he did. However Breivik could only construct his actions and ideas within the (Christian) democratic context he lives in. I will analyze this with the writings of Hannah Arendt on political theology and the complex relationship between politics and religion and a late secular society.
58. Symposion: Volume > 3 > Issue: 4
Christophe Perrin Faire l’amour
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What does it mean to ‘make love?’ Or, rather, what are we doing when we ‘make love?’ This expression makes of love a praxis on which the history of philosophy, rather modest, has said little. Philosophy has certainly evoked love, but always as a passion, an emotion, a feeling, and rarely as an action, exercise or even as a test. It is this aspect of the issue that it is important to study in order to determine it. At bottom, only a definition will be in question.
59. Symposion: Volume > 3 > Issue: 4
Ioana Grancea Visual Modes of Ethotic Argumentation: An Exploratory Inquiry
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Ethotic arguments are defined as sequences of claims-and-reasons regarding speaker character, based on which the plausibility of speaker assertions can be questioned. This is an exploratory study concerning the role of visuals in ethotic arguing. In this paper, I bring together contributions from visual argumentation theory and from studies regarding various modes of construing an ethotic argument, in an attempt to offer an adequate account of the argumentative action of images in ethotic sequences of discourse. In the last section, I propose a case study which illustrates the argumentative action that visuals may perform in the ethotic genre of advertising.
60. Symposion: Volume > 3 > Issue: 4
Rufus Duits What Would a Deontic Logic of Internal Reasons Look Like?
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The so-called ‘central problem’ of internalism has been formulated like this: one cannot concurrently maintain the following three philosophical positions without inconsistency: internalism about practical reason, moral rationalism, and moral absolutism. Since internalism about practical reason is the most controversial of these, the suggestion is that it is the one that is best abandoned. In this paper, I point towards a response to this problem by sketching a deontic logic of internal reasons that deflates moral normativity to the normativity of instrumental rationality, and provides support for the assertion that one can hold fast simultaneously to internalism and at least many of the intuitive commitments of liberal moral thinking. Crucial to the proposal is an account of the enkratic principle – I ought to attempt to realise what I ultimately desire – as the source of obligations we owe to ourselves. I attempt to show how from this, in conjunction with some plausible assumptions, obligations to others might be derived.