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Mental Representation and Self-Consciousness

From Basic Self-Representation to Self-Related Cognition

Gottfried Vossgerau

One oft the most fascinating abilities of humans is the ability to become conscious of the own physical and mental states. In this systematic investigation of self-consciousness, a representational theory is developed that is able to distinguish between different levels of self-consciousness. The most basic levels are already present in such simple animals as ants. From these basic forms, which are also relevant for adult human self-consciousness, high-level self-consciousness including self-knowledge can arise. Thereby, the theory is not only able to integrate developmental considerations but also to sharply distinguish different aspects of the complex phenomenon self-consciousness. Pathological breakdowns of these different aspects, as they can be found in schizophrenia, are explained by specific impairments on different levels of self-representation. In this way, the work shows that a naturalistic theory of self-consciousness is possible, if the analysis starts with very simple and basic mechanisms instead of starting on the 'top of the iceberg'.

Concepts and Categorization

Systematic and Historical Perspectives

Edited by David Hommen, Christoph Kann and Tanja Oswald

The study of concepts lies at the intersection of various disciplines, both analytic and empiric. The rising cognitive sciences, for instance, are interested in concepts insofar as they are used in an explanation of such diverse epistemic phenomena like categorization, inference, memory, learning, and decision-making. In philosophy, the challenge imposed by conceptualization consists, among other things, in accommodating reverse intuitions about concepts like shareability, mind-dependency, mediation between reference, knowledge and reality, etc. While researchers have collaborated more and more to contribute to a unified understanding of concepts and categorization, the joint venture unfortunately suffers (so far) from the fact that it is generally left unclear how exactly the different approaches undertaken in the participating sciences relate to each other. What do psychologists and philosophers mean by the notion of a concept? Is there a core-theory of concepts and categorization underlying analytical and empirical studies? The present collection of essays addresses these and related questions and tries to answer them from both a systematic and a historical perspective.

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Edited by Paul André Harris and Michael Crawford

The essays in this volume all originated at the 2001 conference of the International Society for the Study of Time. The theme 'Time and Uncertainty' sounds redundant, but the contributions try to come to terms with the irreducible openness of time and the impermanence of life. The essays from various disciplines have been grouped around 'fracture and rupture' (grappling with time and uncertainty as a breach) and 'rapture and structure (solving uncertainty into pattern).

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Edited by Jo Alyson Parker, Paul André Harris and Michael Crawford

The nature of time has haunted humankind through the ages. Some conception of time has always entered into our ideas about mortality and immortality, and permanence and change, so that concepts of time are of fundamental importance in the study of religion, philosophy, literature, history, and mythology. On one aspect or another, the study of time cuts across all disciplines. The International Society for the Study of Time has as its goal the interdisciplinary and comparative study of time. This volume presents selected essays from the 12th triennial conference of the International Society for the Study of Time at Clare College, Cambridge. The essays are clustered around themes that pertain to the constructive and destructive nature of memory in representations and manipulations of time. The volume is divided into three sections Inscribing and Forgetting, Inventing, and Commemoration wherein the authors grapple with the nature of memory as a medium that reflects the passage of time.

The Usefulness of Truth

An Enquiriy Concerning Economic Modelling

Simon Deichsel

Deichsel attempts to justify a normative role for methodology by sketching a pragmatic way out of the dichotomy between two major strands in economic methodology: empiricism and postmodernism. It is important to understand that this book is about methodology and this means that it does not add another recipe with prescriptions as to how economics needs to change in order to become a 'better' or 'proper' science. Instead, several methodological approaches are discussed and assessed concerning their aptness for theory appraisal in economics. The book starts with presenting the most common views on methodology (i.e. empiricism and postmodernism) and provides reasons why they are each ill-suited for giving methodological prescriptions to economics. Finally, a pragmatic approach that can do this is sketched out.

Martin Pleitz

The Liar paradox arises when we consider a sentence that says of itself that it is not true. If such self-referential sentences exist – and examples like »This sentence is not true« certainly suggest this –, then our logic and standard notion of truth allow to infer a contradiction: The Liar sentence is true and not true. What has gone wrong? Must we revise our notion of truth and our logic? Or can we dispel the common conviction that there are such self-referential sentences? The present study explores the second path. After comparing the Liar reasoning in formal and informal logic and showing that there are no Gödelian Liar sentences, the study moves on from the semantics of self-reference to the metaphysics of expressions and proposes a novel solution to the Liar paradox: Meaningful expressions are distinct from their syntactic bases and exist only relative to contexts. Detailed semantico-metaphysical arguments show that in this dynamic setting, an object can be referred to only after it has started to exist. Hence the circular reference needed in the Liar paradox cannot occur, after all. As this solution is contextualist, it evades the expressibility problems of other proposals.

Emotions Hold the Self Together

Self-Consciousness and the Functional Role of Emotion

Alexandra Zinck

While classical philosophy of mind regards cognitive faculties, such as consciousness, attention and emotions, as autonomous modalities, modern neuroscience teaches us that these should be considered with respect to the experiencing self. Fear, anger, joy or sadness should not be considered as distinct phenomena but in relation to the self which experiences them on the one hand and expresses them on the other. This book endeavours to draw a framework of self-referential emotions as a plane in which the self is active. Using notions from classical and modern analytical philosophy of mind as well as findings from cognitive psychology and neuroscience, the main idea presented here is that emotions, and self-referential emotions in particular, are essential for the constitution of the self. Emotions provide the self with evaluative information about the self’s faring in the world. Moreover, by facilitating communication with other 'selves', emotions further promote understanding of other’s evaluations of the self, enhancing the development of a self-concept and conscious self-experience. It is proposed that highly salient emotional self-reference and evaluative self-experience are at the core of various levels of self-consciousness. Self-referential emotions therefore might have implications for understanding one’s behavior as well as its breakdown in various pathologies such as in Autism spectrum disorder and affective disorders.

Edited by Sebastian Schleidgen, Michael Jungert, Robert Bauer and Verena Sandow

"What is human nature?" is considered to be one of the key questions of anthropology. Throughout history, anthropologists have interpreted this question in different ways and often inferred moral conclusions from their answers. Such discussions about anthropological statements and their moral dimension gain new importance when we think about possibilities of self design brought to us by modern biotechniques. Human traits, so far conceived as unchangeable, are now subject to individual design. For that reason, the traditional questions about human nature and its moral significance have to be reconsidered in new ways. This anthology attempts to clarify some of the problems emerging in this context by reconsidering modern concepts of human nature as broadly as possible. It includes a wide spectrum of aspects concerning human nature and its implications for self design, starting with the discussion of anthropological aspects and extending to embedding present and future biotechniques into ethical analysis. Mit Beiträgen von Josep Call & Michael Tomasello, Margo DeMello, Boris Fehse, Logi Gunnarson, Nikolaus Knoepffler, Peter Kramer, Hans-Peter Krüger, Gerald Loeb, Neil Roughley, Gregor Schiemann, Thomas Schramme.

As Time Goes By

Eternal facts in an Ageing Universe

Fabrice Correira and Sven Rosenkranz

As Time Goes By offers an overview of different versions of tense realism, or A-theories of time, critically assesses those that have found supporters in the extant literature, and finally explicates and defends a hitherto neglected A-theory of time that combines many of the virtues that the B-theory claims for itself, while avoiding many of the vices that afflict more standard A-theories. Proceeding from certain general assumptions about time and its structure, the authors first provide an exhaustive classification of mutually exclusive realist views of tense in terms of precise criteria. They then critically review the more familiar of these views, such as presentism and relativism, in the light of desiderata any A-theory should satisfy, before showing how their favourite A-theory can satisfy all of these desiderata and how it escapes the McTaggartian trilemma recently expounded by Kit Fine. In the last part, the authors devise a systematic metaphysics for that view, give a reduction of times, and of the temporal order, in its terms, and provide a full semantics, statable exclusively in tensed terms, for both tensed and untensed language. The book closes by addressing and defusing the challenge that the authors’ favourite A-theory is a B-theory in disguise.

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Edited by Andreas Kablitz and Otfried Höffe

Die Europa-Idee, die in den Nachkriegsjahren wirksam war, ist heute verdunstet. Diese Idee war stark geprägt vom Christentum, dem der alte Kontinent seine geistige Einheit verdankt. Die Institutionen des Christentums sind dabei konkurrierenden Interessen ihrer Mitglieder ausgesetzt, verlieren deren Zustimmung in unterschiedlicher Weise und haben das konfliktträchtige Potential ihrer konfessionellen Vielfalt noch nicht ganz überwunden. Daneben haben sogenannte fundamentalistische Richtungen innerhalb traditioneller Weltreligionen – in Europa außer dem Christentum auch das Judentum und der Islam – regen Zulauf.
Der Band hinterfragt die traditionelle Rolle religiöser Werte für die Union, ihre Transformation in der Geschichte und behandelt ihre Gegenwart und Zukunft. Letzteres tut er zum einen mit Hinblick auf die Frage nach der Zugehörigkeit des Islam zu Europa – in seiner gegenwärtigen Präsenz als auch in seinem historisch-kulturellen und philosophischen Einfluss –, zum anderen im Vergleich zwischen der (in sich noch unterschiedlichen) europäischen Konzeption des Verhältnisses von Religion und Staat und anderer westlicher Staaten, namentlich den USA.