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More filters. Sort order. Vbfg rated it liked it Apr 20, Then I have a really tough question: how the hell does it work? I mean, from a philosophical and an intentionalistic point of view. And here I part company from my book Intentionality. Now the account of perception in Intentionality seems to me to not go far enough. A visual experience is an event in the world like any other, and there must be some feature of it characterisable in non-intentionalistic terms that fixes the conditions of satisfaction that it has. But once you give an answer for colors and shapes, you are still left with the question about more complex phenomena.

How about seeing a tree as a kind of tree, or a car as a kind of car, or seeing it as my car? The two most difficult chapters are about how the phenomenology of the visual experience necessarily fixes the intentional content that it does. That turned out to be a tough question. JS: OK. The intentional content must have, as intrinsic to it, conditions of satisfaction.

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And where language is concerned, we have a rather easy way of answering that question. If you have your belief expressed in a sentence, then the meaning of the sentence fixes the intentional content. What is challenging about perception is that you must identify the phenomenological features of the perceptual experience in non-intentional terms and show how they fix the intentional content that the experience has.

Dimensions and taxonomy

Anyway, that caused me a lot of headaches. However, those chapters were fun to write because the issues are really challenging. The argument is complex so I will not try to summarise it here.


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JS: Well, they think the way to avoid the bad argument is to deny that there is a common element in the first place. Now it turns out that their positions are quite different. Campbell, I think, has a remarkably — how shall I say? I think it is obvious that there is a conscious experience going on in my head when I see anything, but he denies that.

He thinks there is just a direct relation between me and the object itself. I struggle with that in the chapter about these guys. JS: Yeah. And that the qualitative character of the perception just is the qualitative character of the object you are seeing. For some reason, analytic philosophers have neglected it. I think it is a fascinating subject for analytic philosophy, and we have exactly the tools to analyse it.

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How do they exist? JS: Yes. It is in the sense that I had never written much about political rights and political power. But if you have a theory of social ontology, it ought to have implications in other areas of social philosophy concerning other issues.

And on two particular issues, I think my theory of social ontology has important implications for political philosophy. One is the notion of human rights, universal human rights. And the other is the notion of political power. And I talked about human rights today.

Dimensions and taxonomy

A right is always a right against somebody. If I have a right to park my car in your driveway, then you have an obligation not to interfere with my parking my car in your driveway. Now the idea of universal human rights is a remarkable idea because if there are such things, then all human beings are under an obligation to do — what?


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  • Well, I want to say that with things like the right to free speech it just means not to interfere. My right to free speech means I have a right to exercise my free speech without being interfered with. And that means that other people are under an obligation not to interfere with me. But now, when I look at the literature, I discover that there is a tradition going back to the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, where not all of the rights listed are negative rights like the right to free speech, or the right to freedom of religion, or the right to freedom of association, I think all those negative rights are perfectly legitimate.

    But the idea that every human being, just in virtue of being a human being, has a right to adequate housing in a way that would impose an obligation on every other human being to provide that housing, that seems to me nonsense. So I say that you can make a good case for universal human rights of a negative kind, but that you cannot make the comparable case for universal human rights of a positive kind.

    Now I come up with one counter-example. If someone has been hit by a car, he has a right to expect that he will receive assistance from us, and we have an obligation to afford him assistance. And in fact, during the Vietnam War, a friend of mine who was a high official with the State Department invited me to come and serve on the State Department policy planning staff where they plan American policy.

    I was so opposed to the war that I absolutely refused to do anything that would even seem to be lending tacit support to the war. JS: Most rights have to do with specific institutions. As a Professor in Berkeley I have certain rights, and certain obligations. But the idea of universal human rights is just in virtue of being a human being …you have certain rights… a fantastic idea. And I think, Why not extend the idea of universal rights to conscious animals?

    Just in virtue of being a conscious animal, you have certain rights. The fact that animals cannot undertake obligations does not imply that they cannot have rights against us who do have obligations. Babies have rights even before they are able to undertake obligations. Now I have to make a confession. I think there are animal rights.

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    Interview with John Searle

    I have not thought about it well enough to have a worked out position, but it seems to me such things as cruelty to animals ought to be universally forbidden. I think we are under an obligation to treat animals humanely. The sort of obligation is the sort that typically goes with rights. Animals have a right against us to be treated humanely. I once argued this with Bernard Williams. Bernard thought that it was absolutely preposterous for me to think that a consideration of animal rights would forbid carnivorous eating habits. Well, Bernard was a very good friend of mine. He had an enormous influence on me of the kind that would be hard to describe because it was mostly just admiration for his sheer intellectual abilities.

    He had a kind of quickness which was stunning. I know that in the last years of his life he suddenly became very productive. And one of the reasons for that is he had all this other stuff going on. Henry Sidgwick, in a generous gesture, identified [T. Sidgwick's opinion can certainly be questioned: William Hamilton, J. Ferrier and Sidgwick himself are among the contenders for that honour.

    Moore's Principia Ethica , the British philosophical profession was transformed, and that Green was partly responsible for the transformation. When Green began his academic career much of the serious writing on philosophical topic was published in journals of opinion devoted to a broad range of [topics] rarely to 'pure' philosophy. He helped professionalize philosophical writing by encouraging specialized periodicals, such as 'Academy' and 'Mind', which were to serve as venues for the results of scholarly research. The end result of professionalization for philosophy has meant that work being done in the field is now almost exclusively done by university professors holding a doctorate in the field publishing in highly technical, peer-reviewed journals.

    While it remains common among the population at large for a person to have a set of religious, political or philosophical views that they consider their "philosophy", these views are rarely informed or connected to the work being done in professional philosophy today. Furthermore, unlike many of the sciences for which there has come to be a healthy industry of books, magazines, and television shows meant to popularize science and communicate the technical results of a scientific field to the general populace, works by professional philosophers directed at an audience outside the profession remain rare.

    Both works became New York Times best sellers. Not long after their formation, the Western Philosophical Association and portions of the American Psychological Association merged with the American Philosophical Association to create what is today the main professional organization for philosophers in the United States: the American Philosophical Association.

    The association has three divisions: Pacific, Central and Eastern. Each division organises a large annual conference. The biggest of these is the Eastern Division Meeting, which usually attracts around 2, philosophers and takes place in a different east coast city each December. The Eastern Division Meeting is also the USA's largest recruitment event for philosophy jobs, with numerous universities sending teams to interview candidates for academic posts. Among its many other tasks, the association is responsible for administering many of the profession's top honors.

    For example, the Presidency of a Division of the American Philosophical Association is considered to be a professional honor and the American Philosophical Association Book Prize is one of the oldest prizes in philosophy. The largest academic organization devoted to specifically furthering the study of continental philosophy is the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy.