90597 research outputs found

    Seeking the Neural Correlates of Awakening

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    Contemplative scholarship has recently reoriented attention towards the neuroscientific study of the soteriological ambition of Buddhist practice, 'awakening'. This article evaluates the project of seeking neural correlates for awakening. Key definitional and operational issues are identified demonstrating that: the nature of awakening is highly contested both within and across Buddhist traditions; the meaning of awakening is both context- and concept-dependent; and awakening may be non-conceptual and ineffable. It is demonstrated that operationalized secular conceptions of awakening, divorced from soteriological and cultural factors, have little relationship to traditional Buddhist construct(s) of awakening. This article identifies methodological issues for secular conceptions of awakening concerning introspection and neuroimaging yet demonstrates also the value of recent advancements in empirical first-person phenomenology for attenuating introspective bias. Overall, it is contended that significant problems arise when decontextualizing awakening and placing it within a scientific naturalistic framework. Careful attention to the definitional, operational, and methodological neuroscientific obstacles identified herein is required in the responsible approach to the investigation of awakening states

    The Social Epistemology of Clinical Placebos

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    Many extant theories of placebo focus on their causal structure wherein placebo effects are those that originate from select features of the therapy (e.g., client expectations or “incidental” features like size and shape). Although such accounts can distinguish placebos from standard medical treatments, they cannot distinguish placebos from everyday occurrences, for example, when positive feedback improves our performance on a task. Providing a social-epistemological account of a treatment context can rule out such occurrences, and furthermore reveal a new way to distinguish clinical placebos from standard medical treatments

    Cosmic Topology, Underdetermination, and Spatial Infinity

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    It is well-known that the global structure of every space-time model for relativistic cosmology is observationally underdetermined. In order to alleviate the severity of this underdetermination, it has been proposed that we adopt the Cosmological Principle because the Principle restricts our attention to a distinguished class of space-time models (spatially homogeneous and isotropic models). I argue that, even assuming the Cosmological Principle, the topology of space remains observationally underdetermined. Nonetheless, I argue that we can muster reasons to prefer various topological properties over others. In particular, I favor the adoption of multiply connected universe models on grounds of (i) simplicity, (ii) Machian considerations, and (iii) explanatory power. We are able to appeal to such grounds because multiply connected topologies open up the possibility of finite universe models (consistent with our best data), which in turn avoid thorny issues concerning the postulation of an actually infinite universe

    Performative Shaming and the Critique of Shame

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    Some philosophers argue that we should be suspicious about shame. For example, Nussbaum endorses the view that shame is a largely irrational or unreasonable emotion rooted in infantile narcissism. This claim has also been used to support the view that we should largely abandon shaming as a social activity. If we are worried about the emotion of shame, so the thought goes, we should also worry about acts which encourage shame. I argue that this line of reasoning does not license the leap from the critique of shame to the critique of shaming. This is because shaming does not always aim to inflict shame on its targets. Many acts of shaming (which I label ‘performative shaming’) should simply be understood as aiming to serve their characteristic function of shoring up social norms and standards

    On the Alleged Epitome of Dialectic: Nicomachean Ethics vii 1.1145b2-7

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    A methodological statement that occurs at Nicomachean Ethics vii 1 and its implementation in the subsequent discussion has widely been called ‘the method of endoxa’. According to the received interpretation, this method follows some strict steps and epitomizes the dialectical method of inquiry. I question the received interpretation and argue for a deflationary and non-dialectical account which, I believe, conforms with Aristotle’s scientifically oriented general methodology

    Just a game? Sport and psychoanalytic theory

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    Sport poses a number of important and no less significant questions, which, on the face of it, may not necessarily seem very important or significant to begin with – a peculiarity that we believe to be integral to sport itself. This article introduces, explores and outlines the psychoanalytic significance of this peculiarity. It explores how the emotions stirred by sport are intertwined with a realm of fiction and fantasy. Despite its lack of practical utility, sport carries an undeniable gravity, encapsulating the aspirations of communities, nations and continents. As a result, psychoanalysis can be used to critically reflect on the purpose and meaning of sport: that is, why do we need sport, and why, for large sections of the world’s population, do we rely on it? Ultimately, while psychoanalysis maintains a unique relation to a variety of unexpected fields of study – including art, culture and neuroscience – we seek to add to this expanding list of inquiry by including sport in this critical domain. By utilising sport as a platform to elucidate psychoanalytic concepts, it is recognised that sport can also prompt questions for psychoanalysis. In so doing, theoretical discussions on the social, cultural and political dimensions of sport through psychoanalytic theory are introduced and applied

    Ingold, Hermeneutics, and Hylomorphic Animism

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    Tim Ingold draws a sharp line between animism and hylomorphism, that is, between his relational ontology and a rival genealogical ontology. He argues that genealogical hylomorphism collapses under a fallacy of circularity, while his relationism does not. Yet Ingold fails to distinguish between vicious or fallacious circles, on the one hand, and virtuous or hermeneutic circles, on the other. I demonstrate that hylomorphism and Ingold’s relational animism are both virtuously circular. Hence, there is no difference between them on this count. A path thus opens for what I call hylomorphic animism. While Ingold’s relational animism leads into obscurity, hylomorphic animism is able to explain the differences in power between material things

    The Perfect Politician

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    Ideas for integrating AI into politics are now emerging and advancing at accelerating pace. This chapter highlights a few different varieties and show how they reflect different assumptions about the value of democracy. We cannot make informed decisions about which, if any, proposals to pursue without further reflection on what makes democracy valuable and how current conditions fail to fully realize it. Recent advances in political philosophy provide some guidance but leave important questions open. If AI advances to a state where it can secure superior political outcomes, leading perspectives in political philosophy suggest that democracy may become obsolete. If we find this suggestion troubling, we need to put the case for democracy on stronger foundations


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