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Volume 35, Issue 3, 2016
Saint Thomas Aquinas' ontological epistemology as clarified realism : the relating of subject to object for ontological knowledgeAuthor Callum David ScottSource: South African Journal of Philosophy = Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Wysbegeerte 35, pp 249 –260 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02580136.2016.1183439More Less
The Kantian revolution limited the possibility of ontological knowledge, severing subject from thing as is evident in its legacy in both continental and analytic philosophy. Consequently, if a thing cannot be known as it is, the philosophical status of empirical science as a study about existing natural things should be called into question. It could be construed, for instance, that a scientific theory is a construction about something to which the subjective constructor can never have ontological access. But, when empirical scientists develop evidence-based proofs for their theories the assumption of realism usually stands: scientific theories constructed by scientists are actually purported to represent natural entities back to these constructing scientists. Given that there is a danger of philosophy becoming isolated from empirical science, we attempt to bridge the gap between philosophical discourse and science in-praxis through a recapitulation of Aquinas' ontological epistemology. Aquinas argued for a clarified realism in which the epistemic is construed as an intersection between the thinking subject and the object. Contrary to naïve realism, then, it will be explicated how Aquinas' realism was a precursor of "critical realism", as he discerned the complex interaction of thinking subject and the being of the object as both bearing on the production of knowledge.
Author Danie StraussSource: South African Journal of Philosophy = Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Wysbegeerte 35, pp 261 –271 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02580136.2016.1191853More Less
Before criticism is justified, an account of the applicable criteria should be given. This task concerns first of all the well-known logical principles of identity, contradiction and the excluded middle. They connect critical thinking to the conceptual element of rationality and to the normed nature of logical thinking, manifest in logically sound (norm-conformative) thinking and antinormative thinking - briefly also accounting for the dialectical tradition. An analysis of these principles requires an understanding of the uniqueness of, and coherence between, the logical and non-logical aspects in the light of contraries like logical-illogical, polite-impolite and frugal-wasteful. It also questions the idea of autonomy and examines the switch from principles to values. When a school of thought does not accept all the logical principles, the criteria for scientific thinking are challenged, for example in intuitionistic logic which rejects the universal validity of the principle of the excluded middle. It is then argued that the principle of sufficient reason and that of the excluded antinomy points at a more than logical foundation for critical thinking and ultimately calls for a non-reductionist ontology.
Author Paul VoiceSource: South African Journal of Philosophy = Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Wysbegeerte 35, pp 272 –280 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02580136.2016.1204843More Less
The meaning of privacy has been frequently disputed in the philosophical and legal literature since Warren and Brandeis first argued for it as a distinct and important personal and social value. Nevertheless, while the meaning of privacy is held to be vague, there is general agreement that Warren and Brandeis were correct in their assessment of its value. Theorists of democracy, on the other hand, have been ambivalent towards the realm of the private. This paper interrogates the intersection between privacy and democracy, questioning the place of privacy as a distinctly democratic value.
Author Veli MitovaSource: South African Journal of Philosophy = Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Wysbegeerte 35, pp 293 –301 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02580136.2016.1206394More Less
Are reasons for action facts or psychological states? There are two answers in the literature on the ontology of reasons. According to the Standard Story, normative reasons are facts, while motivating reasons are psychological states. According to the factualist, both normative and motivating reasons are facts. In this paper I argue that neither of these views is satisfactory. The Standard Story errs in thinking that the two kinds of reasons are different ontological entities. The factualist gets this right, but incurs some distasteful ontological commitments by thinking of motivating reasons as facts. We should, thus, give a proper hearing to the only serious logically possible alternative to the two existing views: both motivating and normative reasons are psychological states.
Author John OstrowickSource: South African Journal of Philosophy = Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Wysbegeerte 35, pp 302 –316 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02580136.2016.1209922More Less
Given the scientific possibility of Boltzmann Brains, and the theory from philosophy of mind known as Functionalism, it is quite possible to construct a model of pantheism which is not as implausible as restricted theism or traditional models of pantheism. The aim of this article is to explain how this might work, but also to say why, in the end, it will not do the same job as restricted theism, even if it turned out to be true. The article does not aim to defend its premises, such as pantheism or functionalism, in more than a cursory way; the conclusions of the article are tentative and conditional: if functionalism is true, then physicalist pantheism may be true.
Author Tess DewhurstSource: South African Journal of Philosophy = Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Wysbegeerte 35, pp 317 –324 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02580136.2016.1209930More Less
Jason Baehr has argued that the intuition that knowledge is more valuable than mere true belief is neither sufficiently general nor sufficiently formal to motivate the value problem in epistemology. What he calls the "guiding intuition" is not completely general: our intuition does not reveal that knowledge is always more valuable than true belief; and not strictly formal: the intuition is not merely the abstract claim that knowledge is more valuable than true belief. If he is right, the value problem (as we know it) is not a real problem. I will argue in this paper that he is wrong about the generality claim: knowledge is always more valuable than true belief; and yet he is right about the formality claim - there is more to the intuition than just the abstract claim that knowledge is more valuable than true belief. What this amounts to, I will argue, is that there is still a value problem but that the guiding intuition can tell us how to solve it.
Source: South African Journal of Philosophy = Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Wysbegeerte 35, pp 325 –335 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02580136.2016.1209931More Less
In this paper we characterise a tension between two views about how an agent could achieve efficient action selection. On one hand, it is common in some of the cognitive and behavioural sciences to maintain that efficient action selection requires that the value of all actions or options available to an agent are represented on a unidimensional scale of values, in other words that action selection make use of a "common currency". On the other hand, early work in situated, embodied robotics and distributed control associated with Rodney Brooks maintained that "intelligence" could be achieved without the instantiation of any representations at all, and without centralised control systems. This line of thinking has exerted significant influence in situated and enactivist approaches to human cognition. If what situated roboticists count as "intelligence" includes capacity for efficient action selection, then their claim that intelligence can be achieved without representations is in tension with the views of those who argue that efficient action selection requires that a common currency be represented. We argue here that the apparent tension is genuine, develop an analysis of the tension itself, and offer a preliminary overview of the considerations relevant to navigating it.
Author Darryl WardleSource: South African Journal of Philosophy = Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Wysbegeerte 35, pp 336 –344 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02580136.2016.1209932More Less
Philosophical existentialism has sought to understand the nature of human existence and the possible meaning(s) that might be made thereof. For the noteworthy existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre, the meaning of life cannot be said to subsist somewhere beyond the province of individual human existence, since meaning is born of a fundamental freedom which inheres in human consciousness. From a more contemporary poststructuralist philosophical perspective, however, one might argue that Sartre's individualist conception of existential meaning in Being and Nothingness remains fettered to an order of signification reliant upon a vestigial "metaphysics of presence", where the presence of the signified has simply been displaced from the transcendental domain to immanent human subjectivity. This is potentially problematic insofar as such an order of meaning qua signification is destined to suspend meaning at a perpetually deferred distance; and concomitantly, human existential meaning remains interminably frustrated. However, using the contemporary philosophical insights of Jean-Luc Nancy, it can be argued that a contemporary (re) conceptualisation of existentialist thought might allow existentialism to liberate itself from a ceaselessly suspended signification of meaning, specifically by arguing for a means-to-meaning(s) always already manifest(ing) between human beings oriented towards the contemporary world as a shared space of sense.
Author Hanoch Ben-PaziSource: South African Journal of Philosophy = Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Wysbegeerte 35, pp 345 –358 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02580136.2016.1209954More Less
The Truth and Reconciliation Commissions that operated in South Africa in the mid-1990s represented an exceptional political effort to overcome the country's intricate blood-stained history using a mechanism based on foundations of forgiveness in a Christian sense, public trial in a symbolic sense, and commissions of inquiry in a political and legal sense. These commissions constituted one of the most daring and impressive attempts in the history of world politics to transform the national social agenda and to facilitate a shared life for the different groups in South Africa. This article engages in a philosophical discussion of a few major aspects of these commissions via the prism of Levinasian philosophical thought and the philosophical and ethical meaning it assigns to the act of bearing witness.
Author O.A. OyoweSource: South African Journal of Philosophy = Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Wysbegeerte 35, pp 359 –367 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02580136.2016.1209961More Less
This paper critically assesses the supposition that the best way to capture the intuition that the concept of personhood has practical importance is to analyse personhood in terms of multiple selves. It explores the works of David Velleman and, more recently, Stanley Klein in illuminating the multiple self model. The paper argues that the reasons driving belief in multiple selves, and the subsequent conceptual distinctions between selves that David Velleman encourages, has not been sufficiently motivated. Among other things, it makes the point that Velleman's theory of self is plagued with the problem of ambiguity and arbitrariness. It also argues that Stanley Klein's recent attempt to ground the belief in multiple selves in empirical analysis is fraught with difficulties.
Author Neil FrankSource: South African Journal of Philosophy = Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Wysbegeerte 35, pp 368 –375 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02580136.2016.1211864More Less
I differentiate justification of the subject (S-justification) from justification of the content of a belief (C-justification) and note the questions associated with truth conduciveness of justification. I employ Susan Haack's analysis of empirical justification and show how, with certain adaptations, it can account for justification from non-experiential sources, if there are any. I give at least one example from mathematical visual thinking.
Author Mark Jacob AmiradakisSource: South African Journal of Philosophy = Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Wysbegeerte 35, pp 2810 –292 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02580136.2016.1206393More Less
This paper investigates whether or not corporate social networking services (SNS) possess the potential to act as surveillance tools within contemporary society and, as a corollary, operate as coercive and exploitative technologies for the individuals who employ such devices in their daily lives. By relying on an interdisciplinary framework, this investigation argues that exploitative surveillance practices are indeed evident within the digital world of SNS platforms, along with how a performativity pressure (in the form of continuous self-surveillance) has been engendered within the user of such platforms. This has resulted in the creation of coercive digital structures that are then exploited for commercial gain. As such, these SNS technologies can be said to facilitate the expansion of what Foucault terms a disciplinary society, which has then also led to the proliferation of certain "free-floating" forms of control which play a significant part in Deleuze's societies of control. Furthermore, this paper argues for the continuing relevance of both Foucault's insights regarding the panoptic schema, and Deleuze's commentary regarding mechanisms of control, in order to attain a critical understanding of how the practice of online surveillance occurs and from where it is that such an invasive practice derives its impetus.