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Archive for the ‘Phenomenology’ Category

This is a paper that I will be presenting soon. I would appreciate any constructive criticisms you all might have to offer.

The “‘she’ll be surprised damnit!’ intuition” is the appellation that Daniel Dennett gives to the intuitive expectation of what will happen when Mary, an neurologically omniscient scientist, has her first experience of color.[1] Dennett disparages the aforementioned intuitive response because he believes that the intuition results from a thought experiment that “encourages us to misunderstand its premises.”[2] He proceeds to “elucidate” these misunderstandings by “turning the knobs” in the thought experiment, i.e., by altering the circumstances of the thought experiment to show the folly of the intuitive response to Mary’s first experience of color.

What follows is a more precise representation of Jackson’s attempt to argue for the spurious nature of physicalism, a critical examination of Dennett’s supposed exposure of the sophistry of Jackson’s argument (via “turning the knobs” in the thought experiment), and an altered version of Mary’s first experience that shows that Dennett’s “Mariology” (a term coined to describe theoretical study of Mary’s first encounter with color) is in need of revision. Specifically, this altered Mary-esque thought experiment shows that the cause of Mary’s epistemological limitation of experience is physiological in nature. I will argue that it is physically impossible for Dennett to be correct in saying that Mary will not learn something new when she has her first experience of color. Finally, I will briefly respond to, what seems to be, a plausible objection to my argument, and conclude with some remarks on the broader philosophical significance of the argument.

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Have you ever Stepped on a nail and not felt it–then: Pain Strikes you. You’ve been standing on the nail for a minute, but because you had your mind focused on the hottie walking by, you didn’t notice it. This is revealing. It reveals that pain (the phenomenological pain) is a process of higher order functions. The “I” becomes aware of the of the pain and then it becomes “I-pain”. In psychology, there is a distinction between aversive reactions and physiological response to a stimuli and the phenomenological pain response to a stimuli. Aversive reactions can take place without pain, but are many times accompanied by pain—emotional or physical, which are processed in the same area of the brain (see last months Scientific American). Now, humans and higher order animals can feel pain, but lower order animals may not feel phenomenological pain because they don’t have the “I” concept or the ability the higher order brain functions to process suffering as anything more than a stimuli and response. When we talk about ethics with animals, we should consider degrees of suffering.

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From USF:

The University of South Florida Philosophy Graduate Student Organization is pleased to announce:

The Fourth Annual USF Graduate Philosophy Conference “Ipseity & Alterity: Dialectics and Distances between Self and Other”

March 4th & 5th, 2011

Deadline for Submission: December 31st, 2010

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Thomas Flynn (Emory University): “Sartre and Merleau-Ponty on the Dialectic”

We are also pleased to announce a faculty address by Dr. Charles Guignon (University of South Florida)

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Often times, philosophers preoccupy themselves with problems that, while appearing significant, are not when subjected to a critical eye. A particularly enduring problem is that of ‘free will’ and whether or not agents have control over their lives. Within metaphysics there are three schools of thought that broadly capture all the views of free will; moreover they are, in order of decreasing levels of freedom, Libertarianism, Compatiblism and Determinism. Metaphysics stands to benefit from becoming more acquainted with current science. Ultimately, this post will take compatiblism to be the view that is closest to the question of the freedom of the will, albeit in a nontraditional answer. (more…)

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Congratulations to Andrew Brenner and Ace Comparato whose projects were accepted for presentation at UNF’s annual Undergraduate Research Symposium!

Here are the abstracts of their projects:

“Special Relativity and Divine Eternality: The Contemporary Debate”
Andrew Brenner

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The current issue of Philosophy Now marks the 100th birthday of Simone de Beauvoir with several informative articles about her work.

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Some arguments from biology try to reduce a woman to what she is in society. However, no man or woman within society has escaped its powers to shape them as people. And as people are in society is in no way related to biology. One can hardly imagine a woman in the state of nature dreaming of a Channel purse. Rather, the way we are is directly related to the way that the world is given to us. Whoever a person is, is somehow a response to the rules of society. Moreover, the rules of societies are somewhat fluid. If the rules that help to shape people are always in flux, we can infer that the people themselves are the same way. (more…)

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