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Many powers-realists assume that the powers of objects are identical with the dispositions of objects and, hence, that ‘power’ and ‘disposition’ are interchangeable. In this article, I aim to disentangle dispositions from powers with the goal of getting a better sense of how powers and dispositions relate to one another. I present and defend a modest realism about dispositions built upon a standard strong realism about powers. I argue that each correct disposition-ascription we can make of an object is made true by the manifestations towards which a given power or collection of powers of the object is directed.
This research study explored the experiences of children (aged 9–10 years), from four different primary schools, playing a hunting game in a nature reserve. Previous research shows that children’s play in green spaces can provide a number of benefits to children. However, there is a lack of research into children’s experiences of playing in bio-diverse environments. This study sought to find out how children (aged 9–10 years) “playing” the role of animals in a nature reserve could enable them to experience different ways of being and different ways of understanding their relationship with the world around them. The study employed a qualitative phenomenological design that aimed to interpret the first-person lived experiences of the children playing in the nature reserve. Four classes from four different primary schools took part in the study. Six children from each class were interviewed and analysis of their responses generated a number of different themes. The results suggest that playing the hunting game in a biodiverse environment does offer states of being and knowings that are not as accessible in schools. Playing the role of an animal had afforded the children with an accentuated, embodied experience, offering insight into the otherness of the more-than-human world.
Environmental law remains grounded in a ‘one-world world’ paradigm. This ontological structure asserts that, regardless of variation in world-construing, all beings occupy one ‘real’ world of discrete entities. The resulting legal system is viewed as an independent set of norms and procedures regulating the ‘human’ use of the ‘environment’ by specifying allowable harm rather than adjudicating on mutually enhancing relations. This legal form fails to fulfil its purpose of prevention and remediation, and constitutes a significant barrier to overcoming world(s)-destroying conditions. As such, we take up the injunction for a ‘legal ontological turn’ so as to lay bare these assumptions, and to be able to move beyond their constraints into a renewed exploration at the intersection of vastly differing legalities. In dialogue with systems-grounded ecological jurisprudence(s), Indigenous legal thinking, and anthropological insight, we seek to ground future discussions towards building a truly earth-sustaining form of environmental law for all beings.
The article explores the Legon School of International Relations (LSIR) which is the research, teaching, and academic programming of International Relations (IR) at the University of Ghana, Legon. The LSIR came out of attempts to decolonise knowledge production, dissemination, and academic programing in Ghana in early 1960s. The article shows that the LSIR is decolonial in theoretical perspective, grounded in southern epistemologies, relational in ontology, qualitative in methodology, practice-based, and it is equity-oriented. Although the LSIR scholarship as a package is distinctive, some of its ideas overlap with the work of several contemporary IR communities in the West. The article highlights implications of the LSIR story for the IR communities in the West and the value of paying close attention to the works of IR centres of scholarship in Africa.
This chapter takes up the question of what we must understand the world to be like if we regard moral judgments, or more generally normative judgments about how we ought to think or act, as not merely expressing attitudes of approval and disapproval, but instead as fundamentally aiming to get it right, to embody knowledge of how we should indeed comport ourselves. Then how are reasons for belief and action, which are thus the central object of their knowledge-claims, to be understood? What does it mean to say, what is entailed by saying, that they exist? This question is pursued by examining the writings of Derek Parfit and T. M. Scanlon. Both hold that normative judgments are true or false and are thus able to embody knowledge of the reasons there are. Yet both recoil from following through on the ontological implications of their views. Both fail to acknowledge the metaphysics that the objective existence of reasons really entails and that this chapter goes on to sketch.
This paper examines the emergence of the corporeal turn in International Relations (IR) research on war. It argues that a lack of a sustained ontological investigation leaves open two theoretical gaps, which impedes the development of an embodied theory of war: (1) the core concept of a body and its linkages with war are underdeveloped, and (2) existing research on the embodiment of war slips into discursivism or empiricism. The paper invites the corporeal turn scholarship to bring ontology to the forefront of IR war research and to expand a pool of theoretical resources for analyzing the corporeality of war by turning to existential phenomenology. With the phenomenological concept of the lived body placed at the heart of war ontology, war is conceived as a complex social institution with the generative powers born out of the capacity of the violent politics of injury to disrupt the lived bodies' sense-making and agential capacities, on the one hand, and the potential of individuals and communities to reclaim their interpretive integrity and agency through embodied everyday practices, on the other.
The book concludes with a forward-looking epilogue summarizing the multiscalar complexity and potentials of Bahia’s Afro-Brazilian dendê economy. It recognizes the fundamental influence of Afro-descendants in shaping New World societies and environments just as it presents new possibilities for abundant socioecological futures. Emerging from an African diaspora of people, plants, places, and power, dendê provides a model for encouraging and enjoying convivial relationships among and within more-than-human communities and biodiverse, productive agroecosystems. It argues for the power of inclusive histories and geographies to enact more viable, equitable, and decolonial futures, and highlights current efforts toward social and environmental justice emanating from the region.
In developing a new ethic as a foundation for a non-mythological notion of privacy, we need first to put aside the informational ethics of Floridi, as that is founded on the conception of the individual as, ontologically, information. We demonstrate that this is a mythological position. Capurro has seen the errors of that argument in the dehumanisation of the individual. In moving forward, we examine the value of the full range of the standard ethical qualities on which our relationship with technology is said to be best based and thereby how we should manage its intrusions into privacy. These include dignity, liberty, identity, responsibility, democratic principles, equality, human rights and the common good. However, each of these is shown ultimately to be vulnerable to a range of shortcomings. It is argued that only respectful self-responsibility – that is, responsibility to and for oneself which is respectful of others and which relies on existential values – can act as a solid ethical foundation, although these other principles can be claimed to be of secondary value. We conclude the argument here by pointing out how that principle would not fall prey to bourgeois aspirations.
This chapter draws parallels to the gothic trope that surrounded discussions on embryos in vitro in the 1980s as a frame of analysis that has grown in counter-response to law’s tendency to place entities either within the category of a ‘liberal, individual self,’ or outwith it (rarely in between). To explain, the gothic self is characterised by disorder, chaos, and dependency. It cannot be subsumed under the traditional ‘self’ that the law presupposes of its subjects. Further, within ‘the gothic’ lies the key concept of ‘monstrosity’, at the margins of what we deem to be human: ‘we stake out the boundaries of our humanity by delineating the boundaries of the monstrous’. While the gothic trope does not explicitly centre around ‘the in between,’ it is argued that we should see gothic entities as such, because of their common placement - legally, and sometimes socially - on the boundary between liberal, individualised human, and something akin to a science-fiction-esque ‘monster.’ The controversy that causes rhetorical parallels between new research and monstrous beings and mad scientists to be drawn is a major contributor to policy-makers reluctance to revisit the legal status of embryos in vitro.
Ernst Mach’s works have often been interpreted as presenting some version of idealism, such as phenomenalism. However, Erik C. Banks’ recent case for the rival neutral monist reading seems persuasive. But it still leaves a problem: how to explain why so many intelligent and thoughtful readers, some of them sympathetic to Mach, thought of him instead as some kind of idealist. I set out the major factors which tempt people into reading Mach thus and assess the strengths and weaknesses of these two readings.
When a liberal-democratic state signs a treaty or wages a war, does its whole polity do those things? In this article, we approach this question via the recent social ontological literature on collective agency. We provide arguments that it does and that it does not. The arguments are presented via three considerations: the polity's control over what the state does; the polity's unity; and the influence of individual polity members. We suggest that the answer to our question differs for different liberal-democratic states and depends on two underlying considerations: (1) the amount of discretion held by the state's officeholders; (2) the extent to which the democratic procedure is deliberative rather than aggregative.
“Green defends a ‘Kelsenian’ non-naturalist and non-reductive version of legal positivism that, he argues, is similar to the pure theory of law expressed in Hans Kelsen’s works. Kelsen is a peculiar legal positivist by Anglophone standards because he rejects the social thesis. As Kelsen sees it, law does not ultimately depend upon social facts about a community’s legal practices. The legal order is normative and so stands outside the spatiotemporal and causal world of nature. Nevertheless, Kelsen can be described as a positivist for two reasons. First, he accepts the separation thesis: law does not ultimately depend upon moral facts. Second, he accepts what Green calls the ‘positivity thesis’. Green argues that the heart of the Kelsenian argument against the social thesis is a form of legal anti-psychologism that is similar to the logical anti-psychologism offered by Frege. A challenge to this Kelsenian position is the view that the non-natural facts upon which legal inferences are based concern the concept of law, not a legal order. Green argues that this approach can be successfully resisted by invoking Kelsen’s doctrine of the unity of law.”
Kratochwil's magnificent The Status of Law in World Society's first meditation, a philosophical discursus masquerading as a meditation about meditation, addresses how International Law and International Relations deal so differently with their common concerns. Kratochwil treats these concerns with his usual cogency. Yet, critical links are missing. How do we get from speaking as a normative practice to the status of law in today's world? How does language (even more than law) go from an ‘agency-related notion’ to ‘a pervasive force penetrating all social relations’? The bewitchment of the world through language is ontology's greatest mystery, worthy of endless meditation.
This essay builds upon Rebecca Kukla's constructive treatment of Dennettian stances as embodied coping strategies, to extend a conversation previously initiated by John Haugeland about Daniel Dennett on stances and real patterns and Martin Heidegger on the ontological difference. This comparison is mutually illuminating. It advances three underdeveloped issues in Heidegger: Dasein's ‘bodily nature’, the import of Heidegger's ontological pluralism for object identity, and how clarification of the sense of being in general bears on the manifold senses of being. It more sharply differentiates Kukla's and Dennett's understandings of stances and the real. Finally, it allows for further development of Kukla's account of Dennettian stances as embodied. These developments show greater complexity than what Kukla calls ‘the wide and counterfactually flexible repertoire of bodily positions’ that make up an embodied stance. They also show how different stances are compared and assessed even though Kukla rightly denies the possibility of a normative or explanatory philosophical ‘meta-stance’.
Stravinsky is a purveyor of shocking comments. Just as he could capture in a single chord the essence of The Rite of Spring, he could frame an aesthetic position with an imminently quotable aperçu: ‘music is, by its very nature, essentially powerless to express anything at all’.1 This remark on the nature of music, published in his 1936 autobiography, is one of his most quoted comments. In fact, it gained enough notoriety to prod Stravinsky to clarify his position some twenty years later, regarding what he called the ‘over-publicized bit about expression (or non-expression)’. Given a chance to repeat himself, he said, he would rephrase the remark; it was not so much that music is ‘powerless to express anything’, he explained, but that ‘music expresses itself’.2 In the first case, music is defined negatively as that which excludes everything but itself; it is not ‘a feeling, an attitude of mind, a psychological mood, a phenomenon of nature’. In the second case, music is given a positive spin as that which includes itself and nothing else; music is its own expression, ‘beyond verbal meanings and verbal descriptions’. In both cases, the composer is saying the same thing – it just depends whether your aesthetic glass is half full or half empty; music in expressing itself is ‘powerless to express anything’ other than itself. That is why Stravinsky staunchly asserted in 1959 that he still stood by his earlier remark of 1936.
Since the global financial crisis of 2008, there has been a resurgence of Marxist feminism, with many writers and activists engaged in assessing its theoretical and political adequacy for the present conjuncture. It is in this context that social reproduction theory has come to be a rallying point. Central to this theory is the claim that the sustenance of life and human relationships, whether or not it is recognised as (waged) labour, is fully integral to capitalism as a mode of production. For many feminists, this sustenance is understood more specifically as the reproduction of labour-power. Social reproduction theory positions gender, and gendered labour, as central to the reproduction of the capitalist mode of production. It thus follows historic trends in Marxist feminism which analysed the structural role of social distinctions such as gender or race in capitalism, rather than seeing them as ‘superstructural’ (ideological or cultural) phenomena.
Habits are fundamental for embodied action. In order to contribute to an embodied account of habit formation, we will bring together the ontological approaches of William James (1842–1910), Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1908–1961), and Nishida Kitarō (1870–1945). James treats habits as key to the mind, placing them at the center of his ontology. James argues that the laws of nature characterize immutable habits of matter, and that living things are “bundles of habits.” Likewise, habits play a central role in Merleau-Ponty's phenomenology. The “lived body,” which Merleau-Ponty often refers to as the “habit body,” determines the character of experience. Nishida argues, following James, that habits structure human behavior and exemplify the continuity of reality. Nishida's nondualism fuses the embodied subject and the ontological world using habits. This has important implications for an embodied theory of habits, and thus for embodied cognitive science. We conclude by exploring ways that Nishida's work Enactivism, and ecological psychology mutually benefit when explored together.
Even though for heuristic purposes we may separate space and time as distinctive categories for analysis, their implications can never be fully worked out individually, but only in the manner by which they are integrated into the entire magical realist textual apparatus of which they are a part. Thus, even though the focus of this essay will be predominantly on questions of space–time, I shall be following the constitution of space–time in direct relation to other aspects and dimensions of magical realist textuality while simultaneously returning to this category as the primary nexus of interpretation. While a range of texts will be referenced for this exercise, the significance of different modalities and configurations of space–time for grasping the relationship between indexicality, iconicity and a putative real world will be focused on, primarily using Robert Kroetsch’s What the Crow Said and Ben Okri’s The Famished Road, two texts that illustrate the magical realist juxtaposition of different ontologies and the leakages that take place between such domains.
There is a widespread sentiment that social objects such as nation-states, borders, and pieces of money are just figments of our collective imagination and not really ‘out there’ in the world. Call this the ‘antirealist intuition’. Eliminativist, reductive materialist, and immaterialist views of social objects can all make sense of the antirealist intuition, in one way or another. But these views face serious difficulties. A promising alternative view is nonreductive materialism. Yet it is unclear whether and how nonreductive materialists can make sense of the antirealist intuition. I develop a version of nonreductive materialism that is able to meet this explanatory demand. The central idea is that social objects are materially constituted, response-dependent objects. I go on to offer an independent argument in favor of this response-dependent view of social objects. I then suggest that a proponent of this view can appeal to the response-dependent nature of social objects to explain, or explain away, the antirealist intuition.
This paper extracts and articulates the account of normativity in Plato’s Philebus. Central to this account is the concept of measure, which plays both an ontological and a normative role. With regard to the former, measure is what makes particular things to be the specific kind of thing they are; with regard to the latter, measure supplies the appropriate standard for determining whether or not those things are good or bad instances of their kind. As a result of measure playing these two roles, normative evaluation is grounded in the ontological structure of the thing being evaluated.