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Philosophies, Volume 7, Issue 4 (August 2022) – 18 articles

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Article
A Byzantine Metaphysics of Artefacts? The Case of Michael of Ephesus’ Commentary on Aristotle’s Metaphysics
Philosophies 2022, 7(4), 88; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies7040088 - 11 Aug 2022
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Abstract
The ontology of artefacts in Byzantine philosophy is still a terra incognita. One way of mapping this unexplored territory is to delve into Michael of Ephesus’ commentary on Aristotle’s Metaphysics. Written around 1100, this commentary provides a detailed interpretation of the most [...] Read more.
The ontology of artefacts in Byzantine philosophy is still a terra incognita. One way of mapping this unexplored territory is to delve into Michael of Ephesus’ commentary on Aristotle’s Metaphysics. Written around 1100, this commentary provides a detailed interpretation of the most important source for Aristotle’s ontological account of artefacts. By highlighting Michael’s main metaphysical tenets and his interpretation of key-passages of the Aristotelian work, this study aims to reconstruct Michael’s ontology of artefacts and present it as one instance, which is perhaps exemplary, of the Byzantine ontology of artefacts. In particular, the study shows that this commentary holds a definite position on the nature of artefacts, according to which they are neither substances nor hylomorphic compounds. Indeed, artefacts lack a form altogether and their forms exist only in thought. As a result, Michael’s commentary provides an ontological interpretation of artefacts as accidental beings, i.e., as matter which acquires a mere property as opposed to a substantial form. While such an interpretation shows originality when compared to the Aristotelian text, it also indicates adherence to the reading established by Alexander of Aphrodisias, despite important departures concerning the status of natural forms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Art vs Nature: The Ontology of Artifacts in the Long Middle Ages)
Article
What Philosophy Contributes to Emotion Science
Philosophies 2022, 7(4), 87; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies7040087 - 08 Aug 2022
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Abstract
Contemporary philosophers have paid increasing attention to the empirical research on emotions that has blossomed in many areas of the social sciences. In this paper, I first sketch the common roots of science and philosophy in Ancient Greek thought. I illustrate the way [...] Read more.
Contemporary philosophers have paid increasing attention to the empirical research on emotions that has blossomed in many areas of the social sciences. In this paper, I first sketch the common roots of science and philosophy in Ancient Greek thought. I illustrate the way that specific empirical sciences can be regarded as branching out from a central trunk of philosophical speculation. On the basis of seven informal characterizations of what is distinctive about philosophical thinking, I then draw attention to the fact that scientific progress frequently requires one to make adjustments to the way its basic terms are conceptualized, and thus cannot avoid philosophical thought. The character of emotions requires attention from many disciplines, and the links among those disciplines inevitably require a broader philosophical perspective to be understood. Thus, emotion science, and indeed all of science, is inextricably committed to philosophical assumptions that demand scrutiny. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Philosophical Aspect of Emotions)
Article
Wittgenstein and Care Ethics as a Plea for Realism
Philosophies 2022, 7(4), 86; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies7040086 - 04 Aug 2022
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Abstract
This paper aims to bring together the appeal to the ordinary in the ethics of care and the ‘destruction’ or philosophical subversion which Wittgenstein references in his Philosophical Investigations: Where does our investigation get its importance from, since it seems to destroy [...] Read more.
This paper aims to bring together the appeal to the ordinary in the ethics of care and the ‘destruction’ or philosophical subversion which Wittgenstein references in his Philosophical Investigations: Where does our investigation get its importance from, since it seems to destroy everything interesting, all that is great and important? What we are destroying is nothing but houses of cards. The paper pursues a connection between the ethics of care and ordinary language philosophy as represented by Wittgenstein, Austin and Cavell, in particular in a feminist perspective. The central point of Carol Gilligan’s In a Different Voice may not be the idea of a ‘feminine morality’ but a claim for an alternative form of morality. Gilligan’s essay seeks to capture a different, hitherto neglected yet universally present alternative ethical perspective, one easy to ignore because it relates to women and women’s activities. The ethics of care recalls a plea for ‘realism’; in the sense given to it in Cora Diamond’s The Realistic Spirit to mean the necessity of seeing (or attending to) what lies close at hand. Reflection on care brings ethics back to everyday practice much as Wittgenstein sought to bring language back from the metaphysical level to its everyday use. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feminist Care Ethics Confronts Mainstream Philosophy)
Article
Naturalising Mathematics? A Wittgensteinian Perspective
Philosophies 2022, 7(4), 85; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies7040085 - 02 Aug 2022
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Abstract
There is a noticeable gap between results of cognitive neuroscientific research into basic mathematical abilities and philosophical and empirical investigations of mathematics as a distinct intellectual activity. The paper explores the relevance of a Wittgensteinian framework for dealing with this discrepancy. Full article
Article
Abelard and Other Twelfth-Century Thinkers on Social Constructions
Philosophies 2022, 7(4), 84; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies7040084 - 30 Jul 2022
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Abstract
This article aims to supplement our understanding of later developments within European universities, that is, Scholastic thought, by attending to how certain pre-Scholastics, namely, Peter Abelard and other twelfth-century philosophers, thought about artifacts and social constructions more generally. It focuses on the treatment [...] Read more.
This article aims to supplement our understanding of later developments within European universities, that is, Scholastic thought, by attending to how certain pre-Scholastics, namely, Peter Abelard and other twelfth-century philosophers, thought about artifacts and social constructions more generally. It focuses on the treatment of artifacts that can be cobbled together out of Abelard’s Dialectica. The article argues that Abelard attempts to sharply distinguish the world of things from the world of human-made objects. This is most apparent in his treatment of creation and human acts of making. Yet there are places in his thought where we see some hesitancy. Many of Abelard’s peers seem to have drawn on the reasons why Abelard hesitates, and they blur the line between human-made objects such as houses and substances such as rocks and humans. Others seem to go further than Abelard—perhaps inspired by some of the thoughts that Abelard also entertains about social constructions such as days and speeches—and assert that even houses are merely convenient fictions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Art vs Nature: The Ontology of Artifacts in the Long Middle Ages)
Article
The Role of the Excluded
Philosophies 2022, 7(4), 83; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies7040083 - 18 Jul 2022
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Abstract
We consider the peculiarity of unique events, such as those of a natural, evolutionary, and social nature. In particular, we consider unique social events that have had either the claim or the vocation of being salvific for humanity, such as the introduction over [...] Read more.
We consider the peculiarity of unique events, such as those of a natural, evolutionary, and social nature. In particular, we consider unique social events that have had either the claim or the vocation of being salvific for humanity, such as the introduction over time of the Torah, Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam. We question how the claimed, general salvific vocation contrasts, or is inconsistent with, the non-retroactive temporality and locality of such events, which could not have happened otherwise. This undeclared and philosophically unsolved inconsistency then reappears in subsequent cultural contradictions and inadequacies, political and social allowances such as, for instance, homo-centrism and a pathological relation with Nature. In the case of Christianity, this inconsistency is represented by the painting reproduced in the article, a work in which the excluded humans and other living beings are represented as astonished by the occurrence in this moment, and in such an unnatural context. Furthermore, we consider the original understanding as related to concepts of classical physics, or of such concepts naively adopted within the texts considered sacred. However, in some religions, such as Christianity, the inconsistency is theologically solved. We stress the need to update the ancient original elementary, naïve, pre-classic philosophical and conceptual frameworks used so that these alleged inconsistencies and contradictions may be not only theologically solved, but also conceptually solved in more complex understandings of the world, for example, considering relativistic time, long-range interdependence, quantum entanglement, and theories of the universe. Without this update, the unique saving events can affect only religiously, that is, optionally, on the scientific and philosophical conceptions used. Without this adjustment, homo-centrist illusion and egoism prevail as the natural, linear consequential attitude without raising these questions. It rather assumes that the intervention is for involved human beings, and moreover for those who have had and are lucky enough to receive and practice it, ignoring the enormous inconsistency within the message itself, and its presumed general and available salvific nature. This requires theological, philosophical, and scientific interdisciplinarity. The theme concerns inconsistencies within and superficiality of the narratives and their treatment of the unique, salvific events, without any reference to possible general and retroactive effects of how these events are represented in the painting. We conclude that the subject should be debated by taking into account contemporary understandings, such as relativistic space and time, quantum physics, and of the universe, with new philosophical and anthropological approaches. This should be a matter of responsible philosophical and theological interdisciplinary debate involving science, suitable to establish new understandings. Full article
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Article
Integral Studies and Integral Practices for Humanity and Nature
Philosophies 2022, 7(4), 82; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies7040082 - 18 Jul 2022
Viewed by 516
Abstract
Humanity is facing a crisis of survival. In order to save humanity and nature, we must rebuild their foundations. This paper proposes integral studies and integral practices as a possible new paradigm for the 21st century. First, we investigated the necessity of integral [...] Read more.
Humanity is facing a crisis of survival. In order to save humanity and nature, we must rebuild their foundations. This paper proposes integral studies and integral practices as a possible new paradigm for the 21st century. First, we investigated the necessity of integral studies and integral practices, which were suggested by the following three evidences: (1) limitations of the Spiritual Revolution and modern philosophy, (2) limitations of the Scientific Revolution and modern science, and (3) contemporary practical problems that threaten the future of humanity and nature. Second, we investigated the purpose and the principle of integral studies and integral practices from a viewpoint of the nature of both human beings and universe. One of the fundamental questions for humanity is how to overcome the egoism of individuals as well as the entire human race. In this avenue, we think the first step is to transcend toraware, which is a Japanese word meaning both “states of being caught” and “what catches us”. The state of being caught manifests itself when the ego emerges while we begin to distinguish between the self and others. Therefore, integrity and intrinsic nature become principles of integral studies and integral practices. Consequently, integral studies and integral practices serve for the sake of nature including humanity. Third, we discussed the methodology of integral studies and integral practices. We argue its core is integral exploration and reframing of the self and others, ourselves and the world (universe), and humanity and nature. It consequently reveals integrity and harmonizes intellect, emotion, and volition as well as goodness, truth, and beauty while revealing integrity and opening up or unfolding the intrinsic nature of the individual and the collective. Finally, we addressed limitations and future agendas of integral studies and integral practices. We suggest it is essential to raise and discuss fundamental questions on humanity and nature as well as to elucidate the truly unknown, which cannot be understood within existing frameworks. However, whether it is correct or not will come to be verified over time. No one in the history of humanity has ever attained universal truth, which is absolutely true in light of absolute criteria that are not relativized by differences in space, time, or people, or which is absolutely true even without referring to any criteria. Therefore, it is necessary for each of us to discern what is right and maintain a critical gaze. Full article
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Article
Complex Cardinal Numerals and the Strong Minimalist Thesis
Philosophies 2022, 7(4), 81; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies7040081 - 16 Jul 2022
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Abstract
Different analyses of complex cardinal numerals have been proposed in Generative Grammar. This article provides an analysis of these expressions based on the Strong Minimalist Thesis, according to which the derivations of linguistic expressions are generated by a simple combinatorial operation, applying in [...] Read more.
Different analyses of complex cardinal numerals have been proposed in Generative Grammar. This article provides an analysis of these expressions based on the Strong Minimalist Thesis, according to which the derivations of linguistic expressions are generated by a simple combinatorial operation, applying in accord with principles external to the language faculty. The proposed derivations account for the asymmetrical structure of additive and multiplicative complexes and for the instructions they provide to the external systems for their interpretation. They harmonize with those of coordinate nouns, and thus offer a unified Minimalist account of their core properties. Firstly, the empirical problem addressed is stated. Secondly, the theoretical framework is presented. Thirdly, Minimalist derivations for additive and multiplicative complexes are provided. Fourthly, the proposed derivations are contrasted with derivations not relying on the Strong Minimalist Thesis. Lastly, consequences for linguistic theory are identified as well as questions open to further inquiry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Perspectives of Generative Grammar and Minimalism)
Article
Axiological Retributivism and the Desert Neutrality Paradox
Philosophies 2022, 7(4), 80; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies7040080 - 15 Jul 2022
Viewed by 252
Abstract
According to axiological retributivism, people can deserve what is bad for them and an outcome in which someone gets what she deserves, even if it is bad for her, can thereby have intrinsic positive value. A question seldom asked is how axiological retributivism [...] Read more.
According to axiological retributivism, people can deserve what is bad for them and an outcome in which someone gets what she deserves, even if it is bad for her, can thereby have intrinsic positive value. A question seldom asked is how axiological retributivism should deal with comparisons of outcomes that differ with respect to the number and identities of deserving agents. Attempting to answer this question exposes a problem for axiological retributivism that parallels a well-known problem in population axiology introduced by John Broome. The problem for axiological retributivism is that it supports the existence of a range of negative wellbeing levels such that if a deserving person comes into existence at any of these levels, the resulting outcome is neither better nor worse with respect to desert. However, the existence of such a range is inconsistent with a set of very plausible axiological claims. I call this the desert neutrality paradox. After introducing the paradox, I consider several possible responses to it. I suggest that one reasonable response, though perhaps not the only one, is to reject axiological retributivism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Desert: Ground, Object, and Geometry)
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Article
Just Rules for Innovative Pharmaceuticals
Philosophies 2022, 7(4), 79; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies7040079 - 12 Jul 2022
Viewed by 416
Abstract
Globalized in 1995 through the TRIPs Agreement, humanity’s dominant mechanism for encouraging innovations involves 20-year product patents, whose monopoly features enable innovators to reap large markups or licensing fees from early users. Exclusive reliance on this reward mechanism in the pharmaceutical sector is [...] Read more.
Globalized in 1995 through the TRIPs Agreement, humanity’s dominant mechanism for encouraging innovations involves 20-year product patents, whose monopoly features enable innovators to reap large markups or licensing fees from early users. Exclusive reliance on this reward mechanism in the pharmaceutical sector is morally problematic for two main reasons. First, it imposes a great burden on poor people who cannot afford to buy patented treatments at monopoly prices and whose specific health problems are therefore neglected by pharmacological research. Second, it discourages pharmaceutical firms from fighting diseases at the population level with the aim of slashing their incidence. These problems can be alleviated by establishing a supplementary alternative reward mechanism that would enable pharmaceutical innovators to exchange their monopoly privileges on a patented product for impact rewards based on the actual health gains achieved with this product. As such, an international Health Impact Fund (HIF) would create powerful new incentives to rapidly develop remedies against diseases concentrated among the poor, provide such remedies with ample care at very low prices, and deploy them strategically to contain, suppress, and ideally eradicate the target disease. By promoting innovations and their diffusion together, the HIF would greatly enlarge the benefits, and thereby also the cost-effectiveness, of the pharmaceutical sector, especially in favor of the world’s poor. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Virtues)
Article
Caring for Whom? Racial Practices of Care and Liberal Constructivism
Philosophies 2022, 7(4), 78; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies7040078 - 05 Jul 2022
Viewed by 307
Abstract
Inequalities in expectations to receive care permeate social structures, reinforcing racialized and gendered hierarchies. Harming the people who are overburdened and disadvantaged as caregivers, these inequalities also shape the subjectivities and corporeal habits of the class of people who expect to receive care [...] Read more.
Inequalities in expectations to receive care permeate social structures, reinforcing racialized and gendered hierarchies. Harming the people who are overburdened and disadvantaged as caregivers, these inequalities also shape the subjectivities and corporeal habits of the class of people who expect to receive care from others. With three examples, I illustrate a series of justificatory asymmetries across gender and racial lines that illustrate (a) asymmetries in deference and attendance to the needs of others as well as (b) assertions of the rightful occupation of space. These justificatory asymmetries are cogent reasons to evaluate the justice of caregiving arrangements in a way that tracks data about who cares for whom, which can be understood by the concept of the arrow of care map. I suggest, therefore, that the arrow of care map is a necessary component of any critical care theory. In addition, employing a method called living counterfactually, I show that when women of color assert full claimant status, we are reversing arrows of care, which then elicits resistance and violence from varied actors in the real world. These considerations together contribute to further defense of the theory of liberal dependency care’s constructivism, which combines hypothetical acceptability with autonomy skills in the real world. Each level, in turn, relies on the transparency of care practices in the real world as enabled by the arrow of care map. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feminist Care Ethics Confronts Mainstream Philosophy)
Article
Building Ecological Solidarity: Rewilding Practices as an Example
Philosophies 2022, 7(4), 77; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies7040077 - 04 Jul 2022
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Abstract
Solidarity within bioethics is increasingly being recognized as an important means of improving health for all. Its contribution seems particularly relevant when there are injustices or inequalities in health and different individuals or groups are disadvantaged. But the current context of ecological collapse, [...] Read more.
Solidarity within bioethics is increasingly being recognized as an important means of improving health for all. Its contribution seems particularly relevant when there are injustices or inequalities in health and different individuals or groups are disadvantaged. But the current context of ecological collapse, characterized mainly by a loss of biodiversity and ecosystem decline, affects global health in a different way to other factors. This scenario creates new challenges, risks and problems that require new insights from a bioethical perspective. I, therefore, propose an argument in favor of ecological solidarity. The aim of this article is to re-define this concept, outlining which causes should incite action through ecological solidarity and who should be the main recipient of it. To this end, I discuss what the background for practicing ecological solidarity might be: an intrinsically altruistic motivation to attempt to be a better person or a forced response to a political obligation. Finally, by way of example, I argue for rewilding as an effective, practical strategy through which ecological solidarity can be applied in the belief that building ecological solidarity supports a number of key interdependencies and ensures ethical care for the health of the planet. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solidarity in Bioethics)
Article
The Accidental Philosopher and One of the Hardest Problems in the World
Philosophies 2022, 7(4), 76; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies7040076 - 04 Jul 2022
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Abstract
Given the difficulties of defining “machine” and “think”, Turing proposed to replace the question “Can machines think?” with a proxy: how well can an agent engage in sustained conversation with a human? Though Turing neither described himself as a philosopher nor published much [...] Read more.
Given the difficulties of defining “machine” and “think”, Turing proposed to replace the question “Can machines think?” with a proxy: how well can an agent engage in sustained conversation with a human? Though Turing neither described himself as a philosopher nor published much on philosophical matters, his Imitation Game has stood the test of time. Most understood at that time that success would not come easy, but few would have guessed just how difficult engaging in ordinary conversation would turn out to be. Despite the proliferation of language processing tools, we have seen little progress towards doing well at the Imitation Game. Had Turing instead suggested ability at games or even translation as a proxy for intelligence, his paper might have been forgotten. We argue that these and related problems are amenable to mechanical, though sophisticated, formal techniques. Turing appears to have taken care to select sustained, productive conversation and that alone as his proxy. Even simple conversation challenges a machine to engage in the rich practice of human discourse in all its generality and variety. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Turing the Philosopher: Established Debates and New Developments)
Essay
Enactivism and Material Culture: How Enactivism Could Redefine Enculturation Processes
Philosophies 2022, 7(4), 75; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies7040075 - 04 Jul 2022
Viewed by 401
Abstract
Culture has traditionally been considered as a set of knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, norms, and morals, acquired by a human being as a member of a group. Some anthropologists interpret this as a set of abstract representations, such as information or knowledge, while [...] Read more.
Culture has traditionally been considered as a set of knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, norms, and morals, acquired by a human being as a member of a group. Some anthropologists interpret this as a set of abstract representations, such as information or knowledge, while others interpret it as behavioral control mechanisms. These views assume that the contents of a particular culture must be processed by the minds of individuals, either in a direct way or by resorting to learned mental structures in processes of symbolic socialization. Some critics suggest a problem with these perspectives since they do not provide a convincing explanation of the enculturation process beyond metaphorical images of transfer or internalization of symbolic cultural contents through linguistic transmission. The new embodied theories of cognition, especially enactivism, could give new ideas about what enculturation processes are like, through the concept of participatory sense-making in material culture environments. In this essay, we discuss how an enactive vision of culture could be, and what advantages it would have, as well as the challenges and weaknesses in explaining the culture and its learning processes. Full article
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Article
Diabolical Diagramming: Deleuze, Dupuy, and Catastrophe
Philosophies 2022, 7(4), 74; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies7040074 - 04 Jul 2022
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Abstract
Jean-Pierre Dupuy argues that our failure to prevent the looming climate catastrophe results from a faulty metaphysics of time: because we believe the present can proceed down one of the many branches that extend into the future, some of which bypass the catastrophe, [...] Read more.
Jean-Pierre Dupuy argues that our failure to prevent the looming climate catastrophe results from a faulty metaphysics of time: because we believe the present can proceed down one of the many branches that extend into the future, some of which bypass the catastrophe, we do not think it is absolutely urgent to take drastic action now. His solution to this problem of demotivation is “enlightened doomsaying” in “projected time”, which means that we affirm the coming catastrophe as something real in the future rather than being a mere possibility; thus, we regard it seriously enough that we are motivated to take the needed actions to prevent it. One potential obstacle to this proposal is that it requires the forming of consensus and coordination with the powerful players who benefit from our current path and whose apparently near-total grip on this catastrophic future may itself discourage action. We then consider an alternative model based on Gilles Deleuze’s philosophy of the present–future relation. Although it has the branching structure that Dupuy is wary of, it may not suffer from the same problem of demotivation on account of the way it conceives the complex structure of the present event. For this reason, the Deleuzian model may be more suited to motivating action in a world where the future must be fought for rather than unanimously agreed upon. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Current French Philosophy in Difficult Times)
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Article
An Ethics of Needs: Deconstructing Neoliberal Biopolitics and Care Ethics with Derrida and Spivak
Philosophies 2022, 7(4), 73; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies7040073 - 30 Jun 2022
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Abstract
The body in need of care is the subaltern of the neoliberal epistemic order: it is that which cannot be heard, and that which is muted, partially so even in care ethics. In order to read the writing by which the needy body [...] Read more.
The body in need of care is the subaltern of the neoliberal epistemic order: it is that which cannot be heard, and that which is muted, partially so even in care ethics. In order to read the writing by which the needy body writes the world, a new ethics must be articulated. Building on Jacques Derrida’s philosophy of deconstruction, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak’s notions of subalternity and epistemic violence, critical disability scholarship, and corporeal care theories, in this article I develop an ethics of needs. This is an ethical position that seeks to read the world that care needs write with the relations they enact. The ethics of needs deconstructs the world with a focus on those care needs that are presently responded to with neglect, indifference, or even violence: the absence of care. Specifically, the ethics of needs opens a space—a spacing, an aporia—for a more ethical politics of life than neoliberal biopolitics can ever provide, namely, the politics of life of needs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feminist Care Ethics Confronts Mainstream Philosophy)
Article
Theory of Knowledge Based on the Idea of the Discursive Space
Philosophies 2022, 7(4), 72; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies7040072 - 23 Jun 2022
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Abstract
This paper discusses the theory of knowledge based on the idea of dynamical space. The goal of this effort is to comprehend the knowledge that remains beyond the human domain, e.g., of the artificial cognitive systems. This theory occurs in two versions, weak [...] Read more.
This paper discusses the theory of knowledge based on the idea of dynamical space. The goal of this effort is to comprehend the knowledge that remains beyond the human domain, e.g., of the artificial cognitive systems. This theory occurs in two versions, weak and strong. The weak version is limited to knowledge in which retention and articulation are performed through the discourse. The strong version is general and is not limited in any way. In the weak version, knowledge is represented by the trajectories of discourses in time, in a dynamical space called the discursive space, which has an arbitrary number of dimensions. Given space is used to represent a given part of knowledge. A manifold is introduced to represent knowledge with a wider scope (all knowledge). The strong version is an extrapolation of the weak version to cover all forms of knowledge, not necessarily human or manifesting in language. The use of dynamical space construction allows one to formalize knowledge as such. Such an effort requires us to initially consider knowledge as mainly a social and linguistic phenomenon, which also could be presented as a result of the evolution of the understanding of knowledge that took place in the 20th century. Full article
Article
Aesthetic Gadgets: Rethinking Universalism in Evolutionary Aesthetics
Philosophies 2022, 7(4), 71; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies7040071 - 21 Jun 2022
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Abstract
There is a growing appetite for the inclusion of outcomes of empirical research into philosophical aesthetics. At the same time, evolutionary aesthetics remains in the margins with little mutual discussion with the various strands of philosophical aesthetics. This is surprising, because the evolutionary [...] Read more.
There is a growing appetite for the inclusion of outcomes of empirical research into philosophical aesthetics. At the same time, evolutionary aesthetics remains in the margins with little mutual discussion with the various strands of philosophical aesthetics. This is surprising, because the evolutionary framework has the power to bring these two approaches together. This article demonstrates that the evolutionary approach builds a biocultural bridge between our philosophical and empirical understanding of humans as aesthetic agents who share the preconditions for aesthetic experience, but are not determined by them. Sometimes, philosophers are wary of the evolutionary framework. Does the research program of evolutionary aesthetics presuppose an intrinsic aesthetic instinct that would determine the way we form aesthetic judgments, regardless of the environment with which we interact? I argue that it does not. Imitation and mindreading are considered to be central features of the aesthetic module. Recently, and contrary to the prior view, it has been shown that imitation and mindreading are not likely to be innate instincts but socially learned, yet evolved patterns of behavior. Hence, I offer grounds for the idea that the cognitive aesthetic module(s) is socially learned, too. This outcome questions the need for the traditional differentiation between empirical and philosophical aesthetics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Natural Philosophy and Philosophies - Part 3)
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