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Berninger, Anja. Commemorating Public Figures–In Favour of a Fictionalist Position
2020, Journal of Applied Philosophy
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Added by: Ten-Herng Lai
Abstract: In this article, I discuss the commemoration of public figures such as Nelson Mandela and Yitzhak Rabin. In many cases, our commemoration of such figures is based on the admiration we feel for them. However, closer inspection reveals that most (if not all) of those we currently honour do not qualify as fitting objects of admiration. Yet, we may still have the strong intuition that we ought to continue commemorating them in this way. I highlight two problems that arise here: the problem that the expressed admiration does not seem appropriate with respect to the object and the problem that continued commemorative practices lead to rationality issues. In response to these issues, I suggest taking a fictionalist position with respect to commemoration. This crucially involves sharply distinguishing between commemorative and other discourses, as well as understanding the objects of our commemorative practices as fictional objects.

Comment: This is a persuasive article arguing for a somewhat counter-intutive conclusion. The fictionalist approach, that what we honour is not the historical figure, but some idealised version of them, seems to capture what we actually do in the real world, even if we think we are not doing this. Do compare the position on eliminativism with Frowe's paper.

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Chatterjee, Anjan. The promise and predicament of cosmetic neurology
2006, Journal of Medical Ethics 32 (2): 110-113
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Added by: Simon Fokt
Abstract: Advances in cognitive neuroscience make cosmetic neurology in some form inevitable and will give rise to extremely difficult ethical issues.

Comment: This short paper introduces the ethical challenges related to cognitive enhancement. It lists some existing enhancing drugs, discusses the differences between developing drugs which treat diseases and those developed to enhance healthy individuals. The ethical challenges it considers include: safety and possible harmfulness of enhancing drugs; whether suffering and hardships are integral parts of human development and thus removing them might be problematic; whether the possibility of enhancement won't result in explicit and implicit coercive pressure to enhance, at the cost of human happiness. Chatterjee's text will serve well as an introduction to human enhancement in medical and applied ethics classes. In higher level classes it will be useful to supplement it with other, more in-depth papers engaging with specific problems.

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Debus, Dorothea. Mental Time Travel: Remembering the Past, Imagining the Future, and the Particularity of Events
2014, Review of Philosophy and Psychology 5 (3):333-350
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Added by: Andrea Blomqvist
Abstract: The present paper offers a philosophical discussion of phenomena which in the empirical literature have recently been subsumed under the concept of 'mental time travel'. More precisely, the paper considers differences and similarities between two cases of 'mental time travel', recollective memories ('R-memories') of past events on the one hand, and sensory imaginations ('S-imaginations') of future events on the other. It develops and defends the claim that, because a subject who R-remembers a past event is experientially aware of a past particular event, while a subject who S-imagines a future event could not possibly be experientially aware of a future particular event, R-memories of past events and S-imaginations of future events are ultimately mental occurrences of two different kinds.

Comment: This paper is concerned with both metaphysics and cognitive science. It could be used to raise questions about how we imagine future events involving ourselves and other people, and how this is similar or dissimilar to how we remember events. It could be used together with papers in cognitive neuroscience investigating the brain areas active in imagination and memory, most likely in a third or fourth year module.

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