Showing posts with label language. Show all posts
Showing posts with label language. Show all posts

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Beyond Concepts

This post is by Ruth Millikan. Ruth Garrett Millikan is Distinguished Professor Emerita at the University of Connecticut. She is a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and Winner of the 2017 Researcher Prize for Systematic Philosophy.

I am a retired professor of philosophy from the University of Connecticut with special interests in thought and language, the ontological structures of the world that support thought and language and the kinds of selection ---- genetic, learning, cultural ---- responsible for their evolution and development.

Beyond Concepts weaves together themes from natural ontology and from the philosophies of mind, language and information. The sprawling topic is Kant's how is knowledge possible? but viewed from a contemporary naturalist standpoint. The assumption is that we, along with the other animals, are evolved creatures that use cognition as a guide in dealing with the natural world, and that the natural world is, roughly, as natural science has tried to describe it. Very unlike Kant, then, the book begins with a discussion of what the world is like prior to cognition, only later developing theories about the nature of cognition within that world.

Central to the view of cognition is the introduction of “unicepts” and “unitrackers” which, together, serve to replace traditional concepts. They are responsible for “tracking” items perceived in different ways and at different times, for recognizing what is the same again as the same again and for storing information thus collected in a way that marks it clearly as information about the same. A novel description of the act of recognizing an identity is central. The ways that various unicept complexes may be developed from experience over time is explored, one conclusion being that the law of noncontradiction acts as a regulative principle in the fashioning of unitrackers, coherence serving as a test for correspondence. The training of unitrackers is not always successful but sometimes leaves behind redundant, equivocal or even empty unicepts or “would-be” unicepts.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

The Phenomenological Bases of the Therapy of Severe Mental Disorders

Giovanni Stanghellini
A course entitled The Phenomenological Bases of the Therapy of Severe Mental Disorders took place on April 9-11 in Florence. Organized by the EPA (European Psychiatric Association) Section of Philosophy and Psychiatry, the course accommodated 30 practitioners and philosophers from all over Europe to offer an advanced practical workshop on Phenomenological Psychotherapy.

The participants learned therapeutic skills from such professionals as Giovanni Stanghellini, Thomas Fuchs, Andrea Fiorillo, Andrea Raballo and Borut Skodlar.

The first day started with an intensive but fascinating introduction by the course’s director Giovanni Stanghellini, who took his audience through the theoretical underpinnings of the phenomenological model, with philosophical references to Husserl, Heidegger and Levinas. Stanghellini argued that a human being ought to be seen and understood as a dialogue with Alterity. It is exactly in a dialogue, where the true essence of language lies and where subjectivity is displaced. Mental illness, argued Stanghellini, ought to be understood as the crisis of this dialogue.

Psychopathology happens when a human being becomes unable to maintain his/her dialogue with Alterity. The dialogue, in turn, was defined as driven by the subject’s will to reveal something new about the subject to the interlocutor. It functions like Husserl’s phenomenological reduction: it is the means by which it becomes possible for things to show themselves to a subject. In this light, a phenomenon which is regarded as a symptom, has a very special meaning: it is the Truth in a person that manifests itself.