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Ever since the rise of the so-called analytic school in 20th century philosophy, philosophical analysis has often been considered to be synonymous with conceptual analysis. However, criticism has also been levelled at the conceptual analysis procedures, which undermined confidence in the merits of conceptual analysis. As far as the clarification of concepts is concerned, explication is therefore sometimes proposed as an alternative means. Combining historical and systematic perspectives, this volume collects new work on analytical and explicatory methods within 20th century philosophy. The contributions explore how clarificatory and reformatory methods of engaging with concepts have been construed and utilized by such different authors as Aristotle, Russell, Wittgenstein, Carnap or Mackie, marking out underappreciated congruencies and reevaluating historical disputes. They explore the role of analysis in metaphysics as well as metaethics and examine how methodological accounts relate to underlying ideas about concepts.
The Text and its History
Contributor: Allan Janik
Every student of the twentieth century has heard both of the great Viennese economist Friedrich von Hayek and of the equally great philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. But what isn’t well known is that the two were distant cousins and that, shortly after Wittgenstein’s death in 1951, Hayek set out to write a biography of his cousin. The project was derailed by Wittgenstein family members, who felt it was to soon to publish such a work. But Hayek’s draft acquired an underground readership, and Wittgenstein’s biographers have used it extensively.Here finally, is the text of that work itself. Hayek’s account has the great merit of being close to its subject; the draft, moreover sheds light, not only on Wittgenstein but on Hayek as well. Allan Janik’s elegant afterword makes these links clear. Anyone interested in Wittgenstein or, for that matter, in the thought and culture of the earlier twentieth century, will want to read Christian Erbacher’s excellent edition of Hayek’s draft biography. – Marjorie Perloff
Neuronal Foundations of Conceptual Representation
Author: Markus Werning
How does meaning come about, given the nature of our brains? Taking up this question, the book unites two so far disjoint perspectives on how humans represent and process information: In philosophy, linguistics, and large parts of psychology informational processes are commonly regarded as transformations over semantically composed structures of concepts. Mental concepts are regarded as the ultimate bearers of intentional content and the providers of linguistic meaning. In neuroscience, in contrast, the interactions of neurons – forming an apparently very different structure – are viewed as fundamental for the flow of information. 'The Compositional Brain' makes a provoking claim that, nevertheless, is underpinned with cogent argumentation. It proposes a structural identity theory that identifies the mechanisms of concept composition with patterns of synchronous neural activity. It combines philosophical analysis with most recent neurobiological findings on the time-dependent nature of neural mechanisms. Using oscillatory networks as a biologically well-grounded model of cortical activity, simulations of brain activity are studied and re-described by refined algebraic and model-theoretic methods. So a link between neuroscience and semantics is established.
Ethical and social consequences of neuroscientific progress
Author: Saskia K Nagel
Advances in the neurosciences have ethical and social implications which need careful consideration from an interdisciplinary perspective: The present book allows readers with different backgrounds gaining a better understanding of recent progress in the neurosciences and their implications. It first introduces to thinking in applied ethics and offers an approach that does justice to challenges from the neurosciences. State-of-the-art scientific work is discussed with respect to its implications for the individual and society. Methods of brain monitoring are explained looking at potentials and limitations as well as at implications of applications. Second, the wide field of brain manipulation is analysed with a focus on psychopharmacological enhancement. The discussion includes investigation of our capacity to handle the options opened to us, safety issues, the role of social pressures, equality of opportunity and distributive justice, as well as questions of the concept of normality, authenticity and naturalness. The book highlights crucial challenges for the individual, policy, law, and society emerging from neuroscientific and neurotechnological advances.The approach avoids problematic neuro-reductionism and is aware of promises and perils of neuroscientific progress. It thus balances overly sceptical with overenthusiastic positions by offering a profound analysis of scientific and ethical issues.
Author: Michela C Tacca
'Seeing Objects' provides a novel neurophilosophical theory of the structure and nature of visual object representation, and of mental representation in general. The book compares psychological and neurophysiological accounts on how our visual system creates coherent representations of objects with philosophical accounts of the structure of higher-level cognition. By integrating accounts of visual binding operations with philosophical theories of mental representation, 'Seeing Objects' provides a sustained empirical argument that the visual system, like higher-cognitive systems, is systematic and deploys non-conceptual representations with a compositional structure. Moreover, by considering the structural similarities between visual and thought representations, the book establishes a new theoretical basis for studies into the nature of the relation and interaction between perception and higher-order cognition, a timely research topic in Cognitive Science.
An Essay on Space and Time
Author: Truls Wyller
The book serves a twofold purpose. Firstly, it provides an introduction to classic and modern themes of the philosophy of space and time. Secondly, it presents a novel theoretical perspective on the field as the author develops his own position. Taking as a point of departure the seemingly naïve question How big is a thing?, Wyller argues that the particular size of spatially extended objects can neither be an intrinsic property of objects nor a relation between physical objects. Similar to the particular duration of events, the size of spatially extended objects is accessible only to embodied subjects. Consequently, determinate extension in space and time is essentially indexical, inconceivable in a world without human beings. The book requires no prior academic knowledge of philosophy or science, as all crucial concepts of relativistic physics, phenomenology and transcendental philosophy are carefully introduced and explained.
Ascertaining the nature and scope of a priori knowledge is of key import to philosophical thought. Philosophers do not merely ponder this issue in order to solve an epistemological puzzle. Philosophers do also strive to understand the a priori in order to understand what doing philosophy amounts to. So what is the nature of a priori knowledge? And is philosophy an a priori endeavour? Starting off from such epistemological and meta-philosophical considerations, the papers here collected trace the import and role of a priori knowledge through the diverse disciplines of philosophy - from metaphysics to ethics, and from the philosophy of Language to the philosophy of science. The Contributors A. Burri, S. Psillos and D. Christopoulou, G. Ernst, H.-J. Glock., S. Häggqvist, P. Horwich, N. Kompa, C. Misselhorn, C. Nimtz, G. Rey, O. Scholz, W. Spohn, I. Stojanovic, N. Strobach, C. Suhm
Linguistic, Logical, and Phenomenological Studies in Support of a Third Way Beyond Dualism and Monism
Author: Hans U Hoche
In this collection of essays, I endeavour to found a novel stance concerning the relationship between subjectively experienced consciousness and objectively observable occurrences in the CNS (‘consciousness-brain’ problem). Although, from antiquity up to the fashionable though in my eyes highly dubious ‘neurophilosophical’ approaches of our days, this problem has found innumerable answers, most of them – and, as far as I can see, all of them that are presently being discussed by mainstream philosophers and empirical scientists – may be roughly subsumed under the well-known generic labels of either ‘dualism’ or ‘monism’ (or hybrids of them). Objecting simultaneously to both of these overall positions – all variants of which, I think, may gain whatever little appearance of acceptability they have at all mainly in the light of the shortcomings of their respective opposites –, I am going to suggest trying out a ‘third way’ beyond monism and dualism, which I propose to call ‘complementaristic’ in much the sense of Niels Bohr’s. This requires a fundamental reassessment of some of our most deeply ingrained and practically never challenged preconceptions in the philosophy of mind.
In everyday life, we explain and predict human actions through beliefs and intentions. We also assume the existence of persons who act on the basis of reasons. Naturalist philosophers do not accept this concept of 'agent causality': what common sense and sociological explanations called reasons should be interpreted as normal causes of actions. As a matter of fact social sciences increasingly use the causal model of the natural sciences in order to explain human actions. In this volume leading specialists in action theory discuss the question: Is the causal model of the natural sciences sufficient to explain human actions or can we expect an explanatory advantage from the classical concept of agent causality? Contributors: R. Boudon, F. Castellani, A. Corradini, M. De Caro, S. Galvan, G. Keil, E. J. Lowe, U. Meixner, A. Mele, T. O'Connor, J. Quitterer, E. Runggaldier, A. Varzi, H. Weidemann
Editors: Uwe Meixner and Albert Newen
The authors: Ignacio Angelelli, Rüdiger Bittner, Thomas A. Blackson, Daniel Dohrn, Julian Fink, Axel Gelfert, Ralf Goeres, Christoph Horn Christoph Rapp, Andreas Krebs, Dirk Koppelberg, Yakir Levin, Erik J. Loomis, Marc A. Moffett, Michael Wreen