Value

The Human Sense of Smell

On Thursday 13 April 2017, a workshop organized at Columbia University by the Centre for Science and Society and the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America sought to explore an important and still partly unresolved question: How does our brain make sense of scents and flavors?Importantly, a key goal of the exploration was to debunk some myths about the human sense of smell. Most notably, it targeted the view that our olfactory abilities are underdeveloped and lack cognitive significance. An eminent advocate of this proposition was Immanuel Kant, who wrote the following:"Which organic sense is the most ungrateful and also seems to be the most dispensable? The sense of smell. It does not pay to cultivate it or refine it at all in order to enjoy; for there are more disgusting objects than pleasant ones (especially in crowded places), and even when we come across something fragrant, the pleasure coming from the sense of smell is always fleeting and transient" (2006 [1798], 50-51)The panel sought to bring together different perspectives to show how this view turns out to be incorrect and to investigate the human sense of smell in its many dimensions and from different angles. After some introductory remarks by David Freedberg, Pamela Smith, and by Ann-Sophie Barwich (who will present her new research on this blog in the next few weeks), it was philosopher Barry Smith who started by addressing the role of the sense of smell in perception and conscious experience.Quite often, reasons given for thinking that we do not experience smells all the...

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Non-Apprehension of Existence as a Means of Knowledge - Anupalabdhi

The landscape of the pramana anupalabdhi accepted by Advaita is a strange one lit up by flashes of understanding. As ever negation is the way to knowledge. The Nyaya school do not accept non-apprehension of existence as a distinct valid means of knowledge holding that it is based on perception.First though the positive thesis. Here I follow the line laid down by the Vedanta Paribhasa by Dharmaraja Adhvarindra. Put at its simplest it may seem otiose. Looking at a cleared table I can say ‘there is no jug on the table’. There is a non-apprehension of the existence of a jug. This is different from perception in that I cannot perceive what isn’t there. There is no non-jug that I perceive to be not there....

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Explanation in Ethics and Mathematics: Debunking and Dispensability

2017.05.25 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews ¶ Uri D. Leibowitz and Neil Sinclair (eds.), Explanation in Ethics and Mathematics: Debunking and Dispensability, Oxford University Press, 2016, 257pp., $74.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780198778592. ¶ Reviewed by Karl Schafer, University of California, Irvine This collection brings together...

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Reminder: Wollstonecraft at Bilkent 1-2 June

Dear all, This is to remind you that our conference on Mary Wollstonecraft’s contribution to contemporary issues in philosophy is taking place next week in A130. We start on Thursday 1 at 10am and Friday at 10:40. Refreshments will be provided. Hope to see many of you there! See this...

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Being WellThis article originally appeared in Tableau, the Division of the Humanities at the University of Chicago’s quarterly publication, as Being Well | Want a more fulfilling life? Put down your phone and look another human being in the eye by Courtney Guerra. It’s easy to ignore the sign-offs at the end of email correspondence—they’re essentially content-neutral beyond conveying “message over.” But Candace Vogler, David B. and Clara E. Stern Professor in Philosophy, has a different...


Gods of ConfusionHonestly my parents were hard-working and good people but very sad, very beaten by life and not ones to give me a crisp explanation.  Not of life, not of anything.  Don’t tell a lie, sure but why not, get a job, but why, not quite “just because” but not much more than it either.  If you’ve ever experienced that I think you know. So I went to the school and they explained it to me....


Reminder: Wollstonecraft at Bilkent 1-2 JuneDear all, This is to remind you that our conference on Mary Wollstonecraft’s contribution to contemporary issues in philosophy is taking place next week in A130. We start on Thursday 1 at 10am and Friday at 10:40. Refreshments will be provided. Hope to see many of you there! See this page for program and abstracts.


Workshop on publishing in philosophy and political thought at BilkentFriday 2 June, 12:40-13:30, A130 Alan Coffee, King’s College London. Informal workshop about publishing in political thought. Dr Coffee will be available to talk with graduate students (and undergraduates who are applying to do graduate studies) about the skill set necessary for publishing in philosophy, selecting journals, drafting, getting feedback, collaborating, responding to reviewers’ reports. Please come with your questions to A130 on Friday 2 June, 12:40 till 13:30. Note that this will take place...


Non-Apprehension of Existence as a Means of Knowledge - AnupalabdhiThe landscape of the pramana anupalabdhi accepted by Advaita is a strange one lit up by flashes of understanding. As ever negation is the way to knowledge. The Nyaya school do not accept non-apprehension of existence as a distinct valid means of knowledge holding that it is based on perception.First though the positive thesis. Here I follow the line laid down by the Vedanta Paribhasa by Dharmaraja Adhvarindra. Put at its simplest it may seem...


The Human Sense of SmellOn Thursday 13 April 2017, a workshop organized at Columbia University by the Centre for Science and Society and the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America sought to explore an important and still partly unresolved question: How does our brain make sense of scents and flavors?Importantly, a key goal of the exploration was to debunk some myths about the human sense of smell. Most notably, it targeted the view that our olfactory abilities are...


Explanation in Ethics and Mathematics: Debunking and Dispensability2017.05.25 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Uri D. Leibowitz and Neil Sinclair (eds.), Explanation in Ethics and Mathematics: Debunking and Dispensability, Oxford University Press, 2016, 257pp., $74.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780198778592. Reviewed by Karl Schafer, University of California, Irvine This collection brings together two groups of essays, unified by a concern for the relevance of explanatory considerations to metaethics and philosophy of mathematics. The first group (by Justin Clarke-Doane, Folke Tersman,...


Panhandling & Free ExpressionBy Michael LaBossiere Embed from Getty Images   Many local officials tend to believe that panhandlers are detrimental to local businesses and tourism and, as such, it is no surprise that there have been many efforts to ban begging. While local governments keep trying to craft laws to pass constitutional muster, their efforts have generally proven futile in the face of the First Amendment. While the legal questions are addressed by courts, there remains the...


The first critic of "identity politcs": Karl Marx in "On the Jewish Question"A propos the long excerpt from political theorist Adolph Reed I posted two weeks ago, a PhD student in German philosophy elsewhere wrote with this very apt analysis of Marx's own contribution to the debate in this famous, early essay:...


Democracy and the politics of intoleranceA democracy allows government to reflect the will of the people. Or does it? Here I would like to understand a bit better the dynamics through which radical right populism has come to have influence, even dominance, in a number of western democracies -- even when the percentage of citizens with radical right populist attitudes generally falls below the range of 35% of the electorate.There are well known bugs in the ways that real democracies...


Russia and RotIf Trump colluded with the Russians to influence the election, it would be a very bad thing. If said collusion provides a path to remove him from office, then that would be a good thing. That both of those points are true, however, does not detract from the equally true fact that liberal obsession with the Russia issue is a symptom of a much deeper blindness about the reality of our political situation. Unless the...


AC Grayling: What happens when our military machines are not only unmanned but autonomous?AC Grayling in Prospect: War, then, has changed in dramatic respects, technologically and, consequentially, in character too. But in other fundamental respects it is as it ever was: people killing other people. As Theodor Adorno said, thinking of the development of the spear into the guided missile: “We humans have grown cleverer over time, but not wiser.” Every step of this evolution has raised its own ethical questions, but the next twist in the long...


Michael Moore visits schools in FinlandVideo length: 9:28


America Beyond Justice: Critical Review of Peter Temin, The Vanishing Middle Class, MIT Press 2017Posted at: https://www.academia.edu/33176097/Review_of_Peter_Temin_The_Vanishing_Middle_Class_Prejudice_and_Power_in_a_Dual_Economy_MIT_Press_2017 Opening paragraph: America Beyond Justice: Critical Review of Peter Temin, The Vanishing Class: Prejudice and Power in a Dual Economy, MIT Press, 2017   Peter Temin’s ambitious monograph on the recent political history of the USA combines economic data about inequality, a complementary theory of politics, and a consequent discussion of how those politics have produced, and sustain, various negative social effects. It is no accident that the book opens with the...


Panhandling & Free ExpressionEmbed from Getty Images Many local officials tend to believe that panhandlers are detrimental to local businesses and tourism and, as such, it is no surprise that there have been many efforts to ban begging. While local governments keep trying to craft laws to pass constitutional muster, their efforts have generally proven futile in the face of the First Amendment. While the legal questions are addressed by courts, there remains the moral question of whether...


Roger Complained to G-d That He Was BoredIt says in the prayer book that You “Renew Continually the Work of Creation”, but you don’t.  I go to sleep every night and I wake up every day and there it is — the same old Creation.  Sun and moon, work and t.v., mother and wife, enemy, stranger, and pal.  Where’s the continually renewed creation I’m promised?  Where is the new? Hang on, said G-d, it didn’t say I renew creation.  It says I...


Roger Ailes: The Man Who Destroyed ObjectivityNeal Gabler in billmoyers.com: Fox News creator and former chief Roger Ailes, who died at 77 last week from complications after a fall in his Florida home, may have been the most significant political figure of the last 35 years — which isn’t necessarily a compliment to those of us who believe media mavens shouldn’t also be political operatives. Ailes clearly thought differently. He simultaneously changed the contours both of American politics and American media...


Watch as the whale becomes itself: slowly, from land to sea, through deep time (Aeon video)Watch as the whale becomes itself: slowly, slowly, from land to sea, through deep time. Descending from creatures that were terrestrial and then amphibious before they were aquatic, cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) possess some of the animal kingdom’s most fascinating evolutionary histories. This video from the UK artist Jordan Collver traces the evolution of the sperm whale from


Changeful Panoply of Consciousness (Upadesa Sahasri)84. Disciple: If this is so, Sir, what is my fault when the mental changes resembling sound etc., and resulting in the reflection of Knowledge, My own nature, are produced in Me who am of the nature of changeless and eternal Consciousness? 85. Teacher: It is true that you are not to be blamed. Ignorance, as I told you before, is the only fault.(from Chap.II Upadesa Sahasri Knowledge of the Changeless.)Ignorance in Vedanta (avidya) has...


Free Time2017.05.24 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Julie L. Rose, Free Time, Princeton University Press, 2016, 169pp., $35.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780691163451. Reviewed by Eric Rakowski, University of California at Berkeley Liberal egalitarian theories of distributive justice focus predominantly on what it means for a society to treat people as equals in allocating material resources and discrete opportunities, such as the chance to obtain an education, to secure employment, to buy insurance,...