Open Journal of Philosophy

Published by Scientific Research Publishing
Online ISSN: 2163-9434
Publications
The dual hierarchy of language and cognition. Language learning is grounded in surrounding language at all levels of the hierarchy. Learning of embodied cognitive models is grounded in direct experience of sensory-motor perceptions only at the lower levels. At higher levels, their learning from experience has to be guided by contents of language models. Language representations are crisp after about age of five; cognitive representations gradually acquire crisper content throughout life and at high levels remain vague and unconscious.
Article
Free will is fundamental to morality, intuition of self, and normal functioning of the society. However, science does not provide a clear logical foundation for this idea. This paper considers the fundamental scientific argument against free will, called reductionism, and explains the reasons for choosing dualism against monism. Then, the paper summarizes unexpected conclusions from recent discoveries in cognitive science. Classical logic turns out not to be the fundamental mechanism of mind. It is replaced by dynamic logic. Mathematical and experimental evidence are considered conceptually. Dynamic logic counters logical arguments for reductionism. Contemporary science of mind is not reducible; free will can be scientifically accepted along with scientific monism.
 
Distribution of national populations in the year 2005, plotted on a log-log scale. US Census Bureau data[16]. Also plotted are the best fits for a power law (slope-1.05) and lognormal (µ = 14.8, σ = 2.5).
Article
Anthropic reasoning is a form of statistical reasoning based upon finding oneself a member of a particular reference class of conscious beings. By considering empirical distribution functions defined over animal life on Earth, we can deduce that the vast bulk of animal life is unlikely to be conscious.
 
Article
Abstract Three big philosophical problems about consciousness are: Why does it exist? How do we explain and understand it? How can we explain brain-consciousness correlations? If functionalism were true, all three problems would be solved. But it is false, which means all three problems remain unsolved. Here, it is argued that the first problem cannot have a solution; this is inherent in the nature of explanation. The second problem is solved by recognizing that (a) there is an explanation as to why science cannot explain consciousness, and (b) consciousness can be explained by a different kind of explanation, empathic or "personalistic" explanation, compatible with, but not reducible to, scientific explanation. The third problem is solved by exploiting David Chalmers' "principle of structural coherence", and involves postulating that sensations experienced by us visual, auditory, tactile, and so on amount to minute scattered regions in a vast, multi dimensional "space" of all possible sensations, which vary smoothly, and in a linear way, throughout the space. There is also the space of all possible sentient brain processes. There is just one, unique one-one mapping between these two spaces that preserves continuity and linearity. It is this which provides the explanation as to why brain processes and sensations are correlated as they are. I consider objections to this unique-matching theory, and consider how the theory might be empirically confirmed.
 
Summary of various Libet-related experiments (plus a "programming" conjecture).
An ocean metaphor, from hinduism.
Triptych.
Article
With certain topics the general reader experiences a double-whammy wherein one must peer through a curtain of needlessly obscure jargon to try glimpsing something that is inherently weird in nature. Bell's nonlocality was once such a topic, but authors have had considerable success over the years in showing where the line is between the enigma itself (in nature) and the human-made oddities surrounding it (in physics). Libet-ology has yet to undergo that de-mystifying process. Accordingly, our first order of busi-ness here is to restate its basic tenets in plain English so that only nature's inherent puzzle is left on the table, free of certain peculiarities of the existing technical literature. We also address the question of the central topic versus its byways, as alluded to by 'left turn into veto-as-volition' in our title (On the final page of Libet's landmark paper, there is an effort to resurrect free will in the same breath that implicitly just killed it. In this way, the founder of the field placed it into perennial disarray and left its true message in obscurity for decades). In the ensuing parts of the paper, we look outside the field to see how hypno-therapy and Hinduism might shed light on it.
 
Article
This article addresses the problem of the place of philosophy in higher education today through the analysis of a single issue: the standardization of academic writing and its effects on the practice of philosophy and teaching. From the formal analysis of the academic “paper”, as the unique pattern of production and evaluation of current research, this article evaluates its impact on the relationship between thinking, writing and education. It concludes that standardization of writing in the globally homologated university, leads to a stifling of thought not only in philosophy but in all areas of knowledge. At the same time gives us the key to diagnose and locate, in each of these areas, what are the spaces of the non-negotiable from which we must rethink our relationship with education and thinking inside and outside the university.
 
Article
The paper comments on a rather uncommon approach to mathematics called physicalist formalism, according to which formal systems are genuine physical systems. A brief review of the main theses is given, then arguments are worked out, concerning mostly with the practice of mathematics and the uniqueness of formal systems, aiming to show the implausibility of this radical view. On the following pages I comment on a rather uncommon philosophical approach to mathematics called physicalist formalism. i I give a brief review of the main theses, then I try to outline some of the main flaws of this approach. I am far from the intent to be exhaustive in this respect, as I am far from a consequent defence of an alternative approach. But I am convinced that the few arguments given here, concerning mostly with the practice of mathematics and the uniqueness of formal systems, are enough to i See the works of Szabó L. E. (2003), (2009), (2010). The third one being a lecture note, I will quote the first two whereas it is possible.
 
Article
The death, burial, and funeral of African literary icon professor Chinua Achebe (1930-2013) and the fifty years anniversary of the publication of Arrow of God (AG) have led to fresh interest in the works and times of this great African literary giant. Though many books and journal articles have already been written on various themes of his work, one must not forget that Achebe wrote most of his fictional novels from Igbo traditional background. Our interest in the present endeavour is to investigate how Arrow of God recreated the Igbo traditional cosmology in various plots and characters in the novel, as well as how relevant these are to the contemporary Igbo and black Africa in general. Our methodology lies in the thematic discussion and interpretation of the plots and characters in the novel. The study is concluded on the note that Achebe exposed inevitable consequences of the situation when those in position of power and authority forget the derivative source of their power (the people) and rather cling to individual and personal aggrandizement. This will definitely bring them down from grace to grass like the chief priest of Ulu deity in Arrow of God. The novel also reveals that there is indeed a great repository of oral pre-literate tradition which our forebears have left behind for us to transmit to the coming generation as well as us as moral-social pedestal and foundation for engineering new paradigm structures for internally motivated African development.
 
Article
In 1964 Jose Benardete invented the “New Zeno Paradox” about an infinity of gods trying to prevent a traveller from reaching his destination. In this paper it is argued, contra Priest and Yablo, that the paradox must be resolved by rejecting the possibility of actual infinity. Further, it is shown that this paradox has the same logical form as Yablo’s Paradox. It is suggested that constructivism can serve as the basis of a common solution to New Zeno and the paradoxes of truth, and a constructivist interpretation of Kripke’s theory of truth is given.
 
Article
This exercise in applied philosophy argues that if the philosophical ideas of Jurgen Habermas are to be implemented in order to achieve a liberated, emancipated society free of domination, and address other problems he identifies in the contemporary world, there must be active involvement of both politicians and political theorists in the project, as well as some theoretical and practical changes in Habermas’s approach regarding the notion of “the political” in the realm of practical politics. This paper builds upon an earlier article titled “The Rectification of (Modern) Names” and develops the key Confucian idea of the rectification of names. Specifically, this paper attempts to extend to the political realm of an earlier argument that Habermas’s analysis that system forces are colonizing the lifeworld is the best angle to attempt to realign contemporary political terms with the realities they should represent. As system is part of lifeworld, displacing lifeworld norms by system norms threatens the very existence of the lifeworld. Moreover, Habermas’s thinking on philosophy, politics, and sociology could help rectify prevailing problems in Western constitutional democracies, especially if practical politics were carried out using Habermas’s ideas on communicative action and discourse ethics. This paper attempts to put into practical terms of some problems Habermas left in philosophical ones, and such practical terms represent a modest solution, addressing a plethora of “irrationalities” pervading the lifeworld in its colonization by instrumental reason. The paper argues that in the unfolding of Eric Hobsbawm’s “Dual Revolution,” the Industrial Revolution continues to outstrip the Political Revolution.
 
Article
This work argues that Africa’s condition of poverty lingers because the continent fails to view poverty in its holistic sense in her attempts at tackling her economic challenges. Other types of poverty exist, such as mental poverty, moral poverty, emotional poverty, spiritual poverty, political poverty and social poverty, which pose great problems for the continent. Obviously, her failure to give worthwhile attention to solving these problems largely contribute to why she has not really benefited from her vast wealth of human and material resources. Also, this lack of holistic approach to perceiving poverty often allows Africa to be swayed by global forces of change such as socio-cultural factors, political factors, wars and terrorist activities, technological forces as information technology and electronic media, and so on. Consequently, majority of Africans seem to be blinded to the reality of possibility of redemption from the continents precarious economic condition. Thus, neglecting their nations, they emigrate abroad, under the guise of seeking enabling environment for productivity and survival. At the same time, those at the helms of affairs perpetuate the economic poverty status-quo by greedily enriching themselves. Thus, the con- tinent becomes an unfortunate victim of parochial perspectives as other continents become undeserving beneficiaries of her endowments and heritages. Using philosophy’s critical and argumentative methods of empirical, conceptual and historical analysis, this paper debates that a holistic perspective to poverty can help control global forces of change in ways that will favour Africa’s total development and enhance her profiting in the globalisation era.
 
Article
Heidegger’s understanding of death in terms of possibility has been debated for more than three decades. The main dispute is about the coherence of the concept of possibility. To advance the debate, we analyse the meaning of “death as a possibility” in three steps. Firstly, we delineate the notions of death and possibility in Heidegger’s fundamental ontology. Secondly, we analyse and evaluate the main opposed interpretations of death as a possibility. Thirdly, we discuss Heidegger’s assertion that death is a distinctive [ausgezeignete] possibility of Dasein. On the basis of the results, we claim that Heidegger provides an ontic-ontological and multilayered framework for the understanding of death. We further argue that one of those layers relates to death as a transcendent possibility for Dasein, which can be further characterised in terms of non-genuine, genuine and—what we call—deconstructive [Abbauende] authenticity. Finally, we suggest that deconstructive authenticity refers to Dasein’s authentic relationship to its own ontological annihilation. As this annihilation cannot be phenomenologically depicted, deconstructive authenticity implies that Dasein is, to a certain extent, free to depict the meaning of its death.
 
Article
We are living in the transitional age from the rational, analytical, and scientific to the cultural, sensitive, and aesthetic. The aesthetics of everyday life lies at the center of this age. There is no boundary between art and life in contemporary art. Almost all the contents and objects of everyday life became a work of art in the condition of searching for the aesthetic. Since aesthetic theory was shifted from the artist-centered or a work of art-centered to the audience, spectator or beholder-centered, art and everyday life were more closely related to each other. So aesthetic attention or attitude is not specific to art, but pervasive broadly in everyday life. We can embrace the aesthetic concerns in everything we make and use every day. In the long tradition of Korean art, it can be seen that aesthetic consciousness is steeped in day-to-day life as well as the arts. I want to consider the problems of everydayness, Korean aesthetic consciousness in daily life, and contemplation in the aesthetic consciousness. Korean art was characterized by its “lack of refinement” and “nonchalance”. The characteristics of Korean art as the qualities of “technique without technique”, “Planning without plan”, “asymmetrical symmetry” have dominated the everyday consciousness of Korean people as well as Korean art. The extension of aesthetic emotion through experimentation shows us the change of aesthetic consciousness as a new possibility of interpretation. We stand in an urgent situation of the need for a new theory of art. It will be related to the future of aesthetics. For this reason, I think we have to consider the meaning of the aesthetic turn in everyday life.
 
Article
In affective neuroscience, constructivist models are acutely influenced by the modern technological evolution, which underwrites an ongoing epistemological substitution of techne for episteme. Evidenced symptomatically in the influence of artificial intelligence (AI), affective artefacts, these models inform an ontological incursion of techne seen to coincide with posthumanist aspirations and anthropology. It is from the perspective of this neuroscientific techne that posthumanism views the human being as increasingly ill adapted to the modern technological civilization, which, conversely, is understood to require a technical governance of the sort envisioned through AI. Among the projects thought necessary for implementing this framework is a recasting of the human emotional spectrum. Revealed through its techne recasting, however, are explanatory commitments to a metaphysic of extrinsic and contiguous causes, where malleability is ontologically constitutive. Aligned with posthumanist assertions malleability is invoked to argue for a rapid advance of the human form, normatively driven by enlightenment ideals. The ontological claim, however, dispenses with the stability of an a priori, intersubjective and interrelational metaphysical form that undergirds the emotions, leading to the collapse of a definitional anthropos. This paper will argue that techne models of the emotions selectively endorse philosophy of science commitments, thereby introducing a normative inversion that deconstructs the notion of anthropology pursued in posthumanist aspirations.
 
Article
Pope John Paul II made a historic apology to several groups oppressed by the church since its inquisition started. The late pontiff’s apology to women as a group was as a result of the obnoxious and oppressive denial of women’s human right by the Church and the greater society because of the wrong interpretation of the “submission” clause in the Bible. The subsequent re-interpretation of the submission clause in the Letter to the Ephesians strongly confirmed and affirmed the equality of man and woman and established the theological and philosophical basis for questioning oppressive cultural ethos in Africa and demanding for a theological paradigm shift which will help Africa to address the centuries old inequities, inequalities and injustices suffered and still borne by women in the 21st century. This article captures the religious role and position of the church and defines the basis for calling for a new gender approach within the Church that will achieve gender equality in Africa.
 
Article
In recent times, bioethics has emerged as a burgeoning interdisciplinary field of scholarly investigation which has in the past decades migrated from bedside consultations to public policy debates and wider cultural and social conversations that privilege all discourse about everyday life issues. Today, bioethics is increasingly seen as a field departing from a multidisciplinary perspective to an autonomous discipline. In most Western countries, the field is now more organized, complete with undergraduate minors and majors, and even high school courses in bioethics, master’s degrees and doctoral programs, and professional associations. Also, there is a shift from a field populated by bioethics pioneers to a field made up of bioethics professionals. However, in Africa the emergence and evolution of the field is still problematic as bioethics is not yet an escalating discipline in the tradition of books, journals, classroom teachings and conferences. In this paper, it is argued that the lack of an authentic discourse on the nature and contents of bioethics, interdisciplinary research approaches, institutional and infrastructural needs and a critical mass of African experts constitutes the major challenges to the teaching of bioethics in Africa. There is a need to reinvigorate standards for teaching bioethics through a radical critique of traditional values, principles, methods and a careful assessment of the new megatrends and challenges in science, technology and medicine.
 
Article
The history of the environmental philosophy carries with it the effort to overcome the medieval anthropocentric morality. Here, nature is seen from the instrumental value which they give. The instrumental value here shows the existence of things as important only as they are useful to man. The contemporary environmental ethics bring a novelty showing these environmental bodies as possessing an intrinsic value showing that they have an ethical value. The medieval ethical system which denies intrinsic value to the environment and thus posits man as being at the center of any moral system leads to the over possession of the environment by man. This over possession by man has led to the destruction of environment by man who exploits the environment in his service. This work looks at the African scenario which seems to be facing more environmental degradation in the contemporary times. The reason for this is surmised by this paper as a damaging evolution of the African history from traditionalism which seems to respect the environment to modernism which demystifies the mysteries accorded the environment and hence putting the environment into excessive use through some actions like deforestation, burning of fossil fuels and so on. This paper suggests a crusade against these damaging effects of modernism for a better preservation of the environment.
 
Article
This paper argues that the colonially-motivated alienation of the African mind, which plays a major role in the moral crisis, corruption, war and anarchy on the African continent, makes the possibility of a true African identity uncertain. Writers often premise African identity on historical, cultural and psychological factors but these factors now appear to be weak constituents of this identity because of severe crisis facing the moral and communitarian foundations on which this identity rests. The present problem of the African state is dual-natured. First is that her rich moral heritage of dignity, discipline, diligence, faithfulness, honesty and sound integrity is being eroded. Second is that the spate of intolerance sweeping across some parts of Africa, resulting from unmitigated acceptance of alien western doctrines inappropriate for her culture, grossly infests her systems with a high level of intolerance and anarchy capable of making her social order like Hobbes’ state of nature in which human life is “nasty, brutish and short.” These situations, worst still, have horridly affected the meaningful and constructive development of the continent and rank her people among the poorest in the world, despite her rich natural and human resources. Using the critical and argumentative methods of empirical, conceptual and historical analysis, this paper explores the rich moral background of the Yorubas, among other cultures, as case study, and urges a return to the moral ideals that once dominated and characterized African states.
 
Top-cited authors
Moeketsi Letseka
  • University of South Africa
Casimir Kingston Chukwunonyelum Ani
Victor J. Pitsoe Pitsoe
  • University of South Africa
Cletus Andoh
  • University of Yaounde I
Hermann George William Burchard
  • Oklahoma State University - Stillwater Oklahoma