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Harry Redner

Quintessence of Dust by Harry Redner argues for a science of matter and a philosophy of mind based on emergence. Mind emerges from matter through five essential stages – “quintessence” ( Hamlet). Human mind is differentiated from animal mind primarily by reference to art ( Homo Ludens). This approach draws support from Donald, Edelman and other palaeoanthropologists, psychologists and neurologists.
The emergent relation between two entities is defined as an indissoluble non-identity. The “mind as machine” thesis, artificial intelligence and Cognitivism are criticised. The alternative Emergentist approach comes close to Spinoza. The book attempts a synthesis of the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities based on philosophic premises.

Artificial Intelligence

Reflections in Philosophy, Theology, and the Social Sciences

Edited by Benedikt Paul Goecke and Astrid Marieke Rosenthal-von der Pütten

This book discusses the major issues of the current AI debate from the perspectives of philosophy, theology, and the social sciences: Can AI have a consciousness? Is super intelligence possible and probable? How does AI change individual and social life? Can there be artificial persons? What influence does AI have on religious worldviews?
In Western societies, we are surrounded by artificially intelligent systems. Most of these systems are embedded in online platforms. But embodiment of AI, be it by voice (Siri, Alexa, Cortana) or by actual physical embodiment (e.g., robots) give artificially intelligent systems another dimension in terms of their impact on how we perceive these systems, how they shape our communication with them and with fellow humans and how we live and work together. AI in any form gives a new twist to the big questions that humanity has concerned herself with for centuries: What is consciousness? How should we treat each other - what is right and what is wrong? How do our creations change the world we are living in? Which challenges do we have to face in the future?

Empiriomonism

Essays in Philosophy, Books 1–3

Series:

Alexander Aleksandrovich Bogdanov

Edited by David Rowley

Empiriomonism is Alexander Bogdanov’s scientific-philosophical substantiation of Marxism. In Books One and Two, he combines Ernst Mach’s and Richard Avenarius’s neutral monist philosophy with the theory of psychophysical parallelism and systematically demonstrates that human psyches are thoroughly natural and are subject to nature’s laws. In Book Three, Bogdanov argues that empiriomonism is superior to G. V. Plekhanov’s outdated materialism and shows how the principles of empiriomonism solve the basic problem of historical materialism: how a society’s material base causally determines its ways of thinking. Bogdanov concludes that empiriomonism is of the same order as materialist systems, and, since it is the ideology of the productive forces of society, it is a Marxist philosophy.

Medieval Perceptual Puzzles

Theories of Sense Perception in the 13th and 14th Centuries

Series:

Edited by Elena Băltuță

In our daily lives, we are surrounded by all sorts of things – such as trees, cars, persons, or madeleines – and perception allows us access to them. But what does ‘to perceive’ actually mean? What is it that we perceive? How do we perceive? Do we perceive the same way animals do? Does reason play a role in perception? Such questions occur naturally today. But was it the same in the past, centuries ago? The collected volume tackles this issue by turning to the Latin philosophy of the 13th and 14th centuries. Did medieval thinkers raise the same, or similar, questions as we do with respect to perception? What answers did they provide? What arguments did they make for raising the questions they did, and for the answers they gave to them? The philosophers taken into consideration are, among others, Albert the Great, Roger Bacon, William of Auvergne, Thomas Aquinas, Duns Scotus, John Pecham, Richard Rufus, Peter Olivi, Robert Kilwardby, John Buridan, and Jean of Jandun.

Contributors are Elena Băltuță, Daniel De Haan, Martin Klein, Andrew LaZella, Lukáš Lička, Mattia Mantovani, André Martin, Dominik Perler, Paolo Rubini, José Filipe Silva, Juhana Toivanen, and Rega Wood.

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Edited by Bernard Feltz, Marcus Missal and Andrew Cameron Sims

Neuroscientists often consider free will to be an illusion. Contrary to this hypothesis, the contributions to this volume show that recent developments in neuroscience can also support the existence of free will. Firstly, the possibility of intentional consciousness is studied. Secondly, Libet’s experiments are discussed from this new perspective. Thirdly, the relationship between free will, causality and language is analyzed. This approach suggests that language grants the human brain a possibility to articulate a meaningful personal life. Therefore, human beings can escape strict biological determinism.

Stefan Lang

Was ist Selbstbewusstsein? Entgegen der weit verbreiteten Ansicht, dass Selbstbewusstsein ein Fall von intentionalem und repräsentationalem Bewusstsein ist, entwickelt dieses Buch ein alternatives Modell: Selbstbewusstsein ist ein Phänomen sui generis und besteht in einem performativen Akt.
Lässt sich Selbstbewusstsein mit den begrifflichen Mitteln intentionaler und repräsentationaler Theorien des Selbstbewusstseins vollständig erklären? Die provokante These dieser Untersuchung lautet: Intentionales Selbstbewusstsein setzt präreflexives Selbstbewusstsein voraus, das im Rahmen repräsentationaler Theorien nicht erklärt werden kann. Als neuer Leitbegriff der Theorie der Subjektivität wird der Begriff der Performativität vorgeschlagen.

Series:

Judith Benz-Schwarzburg

In Cognitive Kin, Moral Strangers?, Judith Benz-Schwarzburg reveals the scope and relevance of cognitive kinship between humans and non-human animals. She presents a wide range of empirical studies on culture, language and theory of mind in animals and then leads us to ask why such complex socio-cognitive abilities in animals matter. Her focus is on ethical theory as well as on the practical ways in which we use animals. Are great apes maybe better described as non-human persons? Should we really use dolphins as entertainers or therapists? Benz-Schwarzburg demonstrates how much we know already about animals’ capabilities and needs and how this knowledge should inform the ways in which we treat animals in captivity and in the wild.

Flavio A. Geisshuesler

Abstract

This article proposes a 7E model of the human mind, which was developed within the cognitive paradigm in religious studies and its primary expression, the Cognitive Science of Religion (CSR). This study draws on the philosophically most sophisticated currents in the cognitive sciences, which have come to define the human mind through a 4E model as embodied, embedded, enactive, and extended. Introducing Catherine Malabou’s concept of “plasticity,” the study not only confirms the insight of the 4E model of the self as a decentered system, but it also recommends two further traits of the self that have been overlooked in the cognitive sciences, namely the negativity of plasticity and the tension between giving and receiving form. Finally, the article matures these philosophical insights to develop a concrete model of the religious mind, equipping it with three further Es, namely emotional, evolved, and exoconscious.

Stefaan Blancke, Maarten Boudry and Johan Braeckman

Abstract

Pseudoscience spreads through communicative and inferential processes that make people vulnerable to weird beliefs. However, the fact that pseudoscientific beliefs are unsubstantiated and have no basis in reality does not mean that the people who hold them have no reasons for doing so. We propose that, reasons play a central role in the diffusion of pseudoscience. On the basis of cultural epidemiology and the interactionist theory of reasoning, we will here analyse the structure and the function of reasons in the propagation of pseudoscience. We conclude by discussing the implications of our approach for the understanding of human irrationality.

Ryan Nichols, Henrike Moll and Jacob L. Mackey

Abstract

This essay discusses Cecilia Heyes’ groundbreaking new book Cognitive Gadgets: The Cultural Evolution of Thinking. Heyes’ point of departure is the claim that current theories of cultural evolution fail adequately to make a place for the mind. Heyes articulates a cognitive psychology of cultural evolution by explaining how eponymous “cognitive gadgets,” such as imitation, mindreading and language, mental technologies, are “tuned” and “assembled” through social interaction and cultural learning. After recapitulating her explanations for the cultural and psychological origins of these gadgets, we turn to criticisms. Among those, we find Heyes’ use of evolutionary theory confusing on several points of importance; alternative theories of cultural evolution, especially those of the Tomasello group and of Boyd, Richerson and Henrich, are misrepresented; the book neglects joint attention and other forms of intersubjectivity in its explanation of the origins of cognitive gadgets; and, whereas Heyes accuses other theories of being “mindblind,” we find her theory ironically other-blind and autistic in character.