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July 5, 20122 responses
Oliver Leaman and Peter S. Fosl
July 5, 20121 response
June 14, 20121 response
June 21, 20121 response
Nicholas D. Smith
Your question raises what is known as the "de dicto/de re" distinction. Rather than give a formal explanation of that (for which, have a look at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy), I'll try to put an answer without using the distinction explicitly.
One way we can think about intentions is to think that an intention is at least partly contituted by the specific content in which the intention would be expressed. Hence, when Oedipus killed the man where three roads met, his intention was not to "kill his father" (or, for that matter, to "kill Laius"), but to "kill the SOB who has the gall to push me--the crown prince of Corinth--aside"). In other words, if you asked Oedipus, "What is your intention?" he would surely not sincerely reply in terms off anything having to do with his father. On the other hand, it is also true that there is another sense in which he intended to kill his father, since he intended to kill that man, and that man = his father. But I think if we were reporting his intentions, it would be somewhat misleading to describe his actions as "intended to kill his father," and so the first sense is the one that would be more appropriate (for example, if we were testifying at a trial).
June 21, 20121 response
June 7, 20123 responses
Oliver Leaman, Nicholas D. Smith and Gabriel Segal
A good way of starting to get out of it is to ignore it. Spinoza argued that we should never feel depressed, or sorry about anything we have done or that is done to us, since this makes us even more miserable. That results in our becoming more passive, and so more unhappy, and this is a highly self-destructive process.
He thought that we should observe the effects of our feelings on us and try to redirect them in a way which results in their becoming more positive. Easier said than done, you might well think, but it might be that he would say it is part of a process, and this is how we should start, by doing all we can to pay attention to what is happening to us and then taking steps to alter our reactions.
May 31, 20122 responses
Stephen Maitzen and Gabriel Segal
It is a good question. It is possible that a sane person
might believe that the government is controlling him by means of radio signals
sent to his dental filling when in fact that is far from the truth, and that a
psychotic person might believe such a thing and the belief be true. Some
apparently sane thinkers believe that the commonsense world as we normally
think of it, as populated with people, teeth, tables, chairs and governments is
not real. Notions like that of a government are too vague and confused to pick
out genuine denizens of reality. Only science tells us what is real. If
that or some other skeptical hypothesis turns out to be right, then perhaps
most of us do not have contact with reality in respect of most of our beliefs.
But that doesn't mean that we are all psychotic. We might be very bad
judges about the justification of beliefs about empirical issues. So perhaps judgements
about whether someone is psychotic should not require us to make judgements in
relation to other, tangential empirical issues. Similarly it is not clear that
psychosis is best understood in terms of imperviousness to evidence of a
certain kind. Evidence is an epistemic notion bound up with the idea of truth,
of a way of cognitive functioning that is likely to arrive at true beliefs and
avoid false ones. Questions about ways in which one ought not to be impervious to evidence seem to be questions for
science and philosophy of science, not psychiatry, psychology and philosophy of
psychology or medicine. So perhaps the kind of cognitive disorder or
abnormality associated with psychosis, if there is any such thing, is best not
understood in terms of loss of contact with reality at all, but rather in some
quite different way
May 24, 20121 response
May 10, 20121 response
Yes, something the court has to take account of is the passage of time since the event and it is entirely reasonable for your memory to be an issue that has to be taken into account. You may be closely questioned on this and to be honest you will have to be frank on how reliable at this stage you think your memory is. You gave evidence in the past nearer the event, and if you still think that evidence was true the fact that you now no longer have the same relationship with it is not that relevant, I should have thought. It is what you said then that is probably most significant, even if now your memory of those events, or even if now what you then thought they were, is rather vague.
Nothing to worry about legally, although don't quote me if you are sent off for hard labor!
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