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61. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 1
Federico Mathías Pailos Intuition as Philosophical Evidence
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Earlenbaugh and Molyneux’s argument against considering intuitions as evidence has an uncharitable consequence — a substantial part of philosophical practice is not justified. A possible solution to this problem is to defend that philosophy must be descriptive metaphysics. But if this statement is rejected, one can only argue (a) that experts’ intuition does constitute evidence, and (b) that philosophical practice is justified by the overall growth of philosophical knowledge it generates.
62. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 1
Julia Langkau Towards a Non-Rationalist Inflationist Account of Intuitions
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In this paper, I first develop desiderata for an ontology of intuitions on the basis of paradigmatic cases of intuitions in philosophy. A special focus lies on cases that have been subject to extensive first-order philosophical debates but have been receiving little attention in the current debate over the ontology of intuitions. I show that none of the popular accounts in the current debate can meet all desiderata. I discuss a view according to which intuitions reduce to beliefs, Timothy Williamson's (2004, 2007) account of intuitions as beliefs or inclinations to believe, and traditional rationalist accounts of intuitions. I then show that a widely ignored account of intuitions as appearance states can meet the desiderata best.
63. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 1
Peter Boghossian Review of The Ethical Treatment of Depression: Autonomy through Psychotherapy, by Paul Biegler
64. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 1
Peter H. Denton Review of The Time of Our Lives: A Critical History of Temporality, by David Couzens Hoy
65. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 1
Damián Enrique Szmuc A New Hope for Philosophers’ Appeal to Intuition
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Some recent researches in experimental philosophy have posed a problem for philosophers’ appeal to intuition (hereinafter referred to as PAI); the aim of this paper is to offer an answer to this challenge. The thesis against PAI implies that, given some experimental results, intuition does not seem to be a reliable epistemic source, and —more importantly— given the actual state of knowledge about its operation, we do not have sufficient resources to mitigate its errors and thus establish its reliability. That is why PAI is hopeless. Throughout this paper I will defend my own conception of PAI, which I have called the Deliberative Conception, and consequently, I will defend intersubjective agreement as a means to mitigate PAI errors, offering empirical evidence from recent studies on the Argumentative Theory of Reason that favor the conception I defend here. Finally, I will reply to some objections that might arise against the Deliberative Conception, which will lead me to discuss some metaphilosophical issues that are significantly relevant for the future of the dispute about the appeal to intuition.
66. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 1
Lori Gruen Review of Elemental Philosophy: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water as Environmental Ideas, by David Macauley
67. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 1
Ramona Ilea Review of Creating Capabilities: The Human Development Approach, by Martha C. Nussbaum
68. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 1
Monica Greenwell Janzen Review of The Primacy of the Political: A History of Political Thought from the Greeks to the French and American Revolutions, by Dick Howard
69. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 1
Maximiliano Korstanje Review of The Discourse of Tragedy: What Cromagnon Represents, by Andrea Estrada
70. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 1
Troy Jollimore Review of The Prudence of Love: How Possessing the Virtue of Love Benefits the Lover, by Eric J. Silverman
71. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 1
Sruthi Rothenfluch Review of The Philosophy of Sex and Love, by Alan Soble
72. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Cynthia Freeland Aesthetics and the Senses: Introduction
73. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Jennifer A. McMahon The Aesthetics of Perception: Form as a Sign of Intention
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Aesthetic judgment has often been characterized as a sensuous cognitively unmediated engagement in sensory items whether visual, auditory, haptic, olfactory or gustatory. However, new art forms challenge this assumption. At the very least, new art forms provide evidence of intention which triggers a search for meaning in the perceiver. Perceived order excites the ascription of intention. The ascription of intention employs background knowledge and experience, or in other words, implicates the perceiver’s conceptual framework. In our response to art of every description we witness the incorrigible tendency in humans to construct meaningful narratives to account for events. Such meaningful narratives always implicitly involve the ascription of intention, even when the agent of the intention is not explicitly acknowledged or even clearly conceived. This principle of intention-in-order may seem incompatible with another truism which is that art is a source of novel ideas and essentially a critique of prevailing values and norms including conceptual schemes. I argue on the contrary that the human impulse to read intention in order is a precondition of art’s critical edge. Creativity is possible even though there is no raw perceptual data to which we have conscious access. That is, there are no sensory items, unmediated by the concepts we have internalized through our interaction with our communities, to which we have conscious access.
74. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Justin L. Harmon The Sensuous as Source of Demand: A Response to Jennifer McMahon’s “Aesthetics of Perception”
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In this response paper I defend an alternative position to both Jennifer McMahon’s neo-Kantian view on the aesthetics of perceptual experience, and the sense-data theory that she rightly repudiates. McMahon argues that sense perception is informed by concepts “all the way out,” and that the empiricist notion of unmediated sensuous access to entities in the world is untenable. She further claims that art is demanding inasmuch as it compels one to engage in an open-ended, cognitive interpretive process with sensuous phenomena, and that it is this very process that opens up a space for critique of the entrenched representational concepts by which we navigate the world. In contrast, I argue that the sensuous itself is a source of demand. Perceptual objects, in virtue of their material constitution, are inexhaustible plexuses of meaning that demand a kind of sensuous, interpretive response on the part of our bodily posture and orientation. Works of art offer opportunities for critique insofar as they reveal dimensions of sensuous reality hitherto covered over by status quo conceptual distributions. McMahon is right that sensuous objects are never simply given. But, I claim, she is wrong to suggest that it is only by way of conceptual mediation that we make contact with the world. On the contrary, the sensuous self-presentation of things is always at the same time a demand on our sensory apparatus that resists encapsulation by concepts.
75. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Cameron Buckner Ordering Our Attributions-of-Order: Commentary on McMahon
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In her target article, Jennifer McMahon argues that we understand art not by explicitly interpreting “raw percepts,” but rather by engaging with our implicit tendencies to interpret complex stimuli in terms of culturally-engrained preconceptions and narratives. These attributions of order require a shared conceptual and cultural background, and thus one might worry that in denying access to raw percepts, the view dulls art’s critical edge. Against this worry, McMahon argues that art can continue to create and innovate by inviting us to critically reflect upon the very preconceptions on which our engagement with it necessarily depends. In this commentary, I place these attributions of order in historical and empirical context. In addition, I discuss a lingering, related mystery — the possibility of the occasionally punctuated character of artistic evolution, in which prevailing aesthetic conventions are replaced with almost entirely new ones. I suggest that such radical breaks with the past are possible even given the concept-ladeness of perception, but are only likely to succeed when they tap into a culturally-invariant bedrock of more basic attributions of order.
76. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Owen Ewald, Ursula Krentz Beauty and Beholders: Are Past Intuitions Correct?
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This essay discusses four definitions of beauty from Western philosophy in light of recent experimental work from the more modern fields of psychology and biology. The first idea, derived from Plato, that beauty consists of relationships between parts, is partially confirmed by recent psychological experiments on infants and adults. The second idea, that beauty consists of one salient feature amid a mass of details, is more recent, perhaps from Hume, and is confirmed by some experiments on adults, but this finding has not been replicated in non-Western cultures. The third idea, that beauty is based on utility, occurs in Plato but is more difficult to support through experiments; biology suggests that a longing for beauty, not merely for survival, is an evolutionary target. Finally, the fourth idea, that beauty is a type of cognitive pleasure, is a constant thread from Plato through the work of Aquinas and Kant and seems to confirm a preference for an optimum level of complexity by adults, but cannot explain a parallel preference for complexity in human infants.
77. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Kathleen Coessens Sensory Fluidity: Dialogues of Imagination in Art
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How do artists share, translate, reveal their imagination by using different semiotic systems; how can the audience partake in this imagination receiving only images, words, notation, sounds? Starting from artwork of the novelist Italo Calvino and the composers Helmut Lachenmann and Gyorgy Kurtag, this article addresses the relation among imagination, perception, remembrance and expression. The ‘images’ used, be they visual, verbal, auditory or haptic, are much more than images. They concentrate in themselves layers of subjective and intersubjective perceptual, cognitive and emotive experiences. I will argue that imagination relies upon sensory fluidity. This allows us (1) to integrate sensorial experiences from different perceptual origins — synaesthesia, (2) to link past, present and future by way of sensorial and embodied patterns of remembrance — embodied sedimentation, and (3) to share intersubjective patterns of affect and effect, bridging idiosyncratic and universal human experiences.
78. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Mark Paterson Movement for Movement’s Sake?: On the Relationship Between Kinaesthesia and Aesthetics
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Movement and, more particularly, kinesthesia as a modality and as a metaphor has become of interest at the intersection of phenomenology and cognitive science. In this paper I wish to combine three historically related strands, aisthêsis, kinesthesis and aesthetics, to advance an argument concerning the aesthetic value of certain somatic sensations. Firstly, by capitalizing on a recent regard for somatic or inner bodily senses, including kinesthesia, proprioception and the vestibular system by drawing lines of historical continuity from earlier philosophical investigations on bodily background experience, initially from aisthêsis, Aristotle’s concept of the sensory faculty. Secondly, concepts of the sensate body are advanced through discoveries in the nervous system and related discussions of the ‘inner’ senses such as Charles Bell’s ‘muscle sense’ (1826), and what Charles Sherrington later termed ‘proprio-ception’ (1906). Thirdly, we consider the possibility of aesthetic status for those inner senses, where recently aesthetic arguments by Montero (2006) and Cole and Montero (2007) seek to determine aesthetic criteria for proprioception, and similarly in dance theory the aesthetic status of kinesthesia has been questioned (e.g. Foster 2011). Finally we consider whether previous exposure to a ‘grammar’ of movement is a factor in determining the relative aesthetic value.
79. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
W.P. Seeley Hearing How Smooth It Looks: Selective Attention and Crossmodal Perception in the Arts
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A broad range of behavior is associated with crossmodal perception in the arts. Philosophical explanations of crossmodal perception often make reference to neuroscientific discussions of multisensory integration in selective attention. This research demonstrates that superior colliculus plays a regulative role in attention, integrating unique modality specific visual, auditory, and somatosensory spatial maps into a common spatial framework for action, and that motor skill, emotional salience, and semantic salience contribute to the integration of auditory, visual, and somatosensory information in ordinary perceptual contexts. I present a model for multisensory integration in our engagement with artworks derived from a diagnostic recognition framework for object recognition and a biased competition model for selective attention. The proposed model attributes a role to superior colliculus in a broader fronto-parietal attentional network that integrates sensory information, primes perceptual systems to the expectation of stimulus features salient to particular sensorimotor or cognitive tasks at particular locations, and inhibits the perception of task irrelevant distracters. I argue that this model demonstrates that crossmodal effects are the rule not the exception in perception and discuss ways in which it explains a range of crossmodal effects in our engagement with pictures, dance, and musical performances.
80. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Cynthia Freeland On Being Stereoblind in an Era of 3D Movies
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I happen to have a visual impairment known as strabismus, which means that the information from my eyes is not successfully fused in my brain, so I lack stereoscopic vision. Hence I was surprised to find I could see some depth effects of recent 3D films such as Wim Wenders’s Pina. This experience has prompted me to explore both further information about binocular vision and various disputes about the aesthetic merits of 3D films. My paper takes up the following topics: (1) a review of information about binocular vision and the problem of strabismus; (2) a summary of 3D film history and techniques; (3) a discussion of the aesthetic merits and deficits of some “best cases” of contemporary 3D films, concluding with (4) assessments of the meaning of claims about 3D cinema’s alleged superior “realism.” I consider three proposals about the superior realism of 3D movies with the aim of summarizing what the latest ventures in this mode mean to those of us who lack normal binocular vision.