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1. Balkan Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Note from the Editorial Board
2. Balkan Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Valerie Gray Hardcastle Intellectual Disability, Brain Damage, and Group-to-Individual Inferences: How the U.S. Court System Uses Neuroscience Data
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In this essay, I home in on the difficulties with group-to-individual (G2i) inferences in neuroscience and how they impact the legal system. I briefly outline how cognitive shortcutting can distort legal decisions, and then turn my attention to G2i inferences, with a special focus on issues of intellectual disability and brain damage. I argue that judges and juries are not situated to appreciate the nuances in brain data and that they are required to make clinical decisions without clinical training. As a result, they effectively ignore those responsibilities and simply decide cases in virtue of what they already believe to be true. How judges actually make decisions in highstakes criminal cases is troubling, but they are also hamstrung in a variety of ways.
3. Balkan Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Drozdstoy St. Stoyanov Psychiatry and neurolaw: An Essay on the Mind-Brain Problem and Legal Proof
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The aim of this paper is to highlight the rationale behind the use of data from neuroscience, particularly neuroimaging, in psychiatric legal expert procedures and their interference with the mind-brain problem.The critical argument is that the employment of mental health evaluation of the defendants and/or witnesses as collected with clinical assessment methods in court proceedings should not be considered irrespective to the data from neuroscience. Essentially, neuroscience methods belong to the domain of nomothetic (natural explanatory) knowledge, whereas clinical evaluation methods in psychiatry belong to the domain of intra- and inter-subjective narratives. There exists an explanatory gap between those two groups of disciplines which concerns the ability to translate and integrate data across diverse methodological and terminological systems. Furthermore, it depends largely on the implicit positions in the mind-brain debate and the brain-to-behavior connections, which reflect on the professional and legal reasoning in terms of prioritizing certain solutions or approaches over another in the expert judgements. There are described those tacit positions adopted in the mind-brain debate by different traditions in psychiatry, with special emphasis on reductive and non-reductive forms of physicalism.In conclusion, a cognitive pluralist stance is adopted which sets priority for the supervenience theory of mind.
4. Balkan Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Toma Strle, Olga Markič Looping effects of neurolaw, and the precarious marriage between neuroscience and the law
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In the following article we first present the growing trend of incorporating neuroscience into the law, and the growing acceptance of and trust in neuroscience’s mechanistic and reductionistic explanations of the human mind. We then present and discuss some studies that show how nudging peoples’ beliefs about matters related to human agency (such as free will, decision-making, or self-control) towards a more deterministic, mechanistic and/or reductionistic conception, exerts an influence on their very actions, mentality, and brain processes. We suggest that the neuroscientific view of the human mind exerts an influence on the very cognitive phenomena neuroscience falsely believes to be studying objectively. This holds especially when we consider the systematic integration of neuroscience into the public domain, such as the law. For, such an integration acts as a reinforcement of the public’s and legal decision-makers’ endorsement of and trust in neuroscience’s view of human nature that further changes how people think and act. Such looping effects of neurolaw are probably inevitable. Accordingly, we should be aware of the scope of neuroscientific explanations and be careful not to overstate neuroscientific evidence and findings in legal contexts.
5. Balkan Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Bartosz Janik, Maciej Próchnicki Naturalizing the subjective side of the crime: a few introductory remarks on the role of consciousness in criminal law based on American and Polish examples
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Advancements in neuroscience cast new light on the functioning of the human mind. This is especially important within the context of criminal law, wherein consciousness plays a crucial role in determining criminal responsibility. Yet, there are some caveats in the direct application of these new findings, most of which are related to the specific conceptual framework of law based upon commonsense knowledge and (sometimes) outdated psychology. This framework has also produced different doctrines of interpretation in the systems of common and civil law. Moreover, the goals of the law are to some extent different from scientific research on the brain. The aim of this study is to assess to what extent and under what interpretation scientific knowledge concerning consciousness might be useful for legal purposes, especially for the criminal law. Our assessment is that most of the current concepts of criminal law are directly related to outdated psychological and neuroscientific theories, and that the content of those concepts should be updated according to the newest scientific findings while remaining in accordance with the primary functions of criminal law.
6. Balkan Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Adebayo Aina Retributivist Theory of Punishment: Some Comments
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The Retributivist approach to punishment attempts to address the challenges posed by utilitarian conception that punitive actions should strictly be associated with a costeffective means to certain independently identifiable goods at the expense of justice. Justice proffers how the guilty deserve to be punished and no moral consideration relevant to punishment outweighs an offender’s criminal desert. However, this just desert provokes difficulty in discerning proportionality between the moral gravity of each offence and the specific penalties attached. This consequently degenerates to another form of ‘lex talionis’ (revenge) in punitive justice.
7. Balkan Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Anton Donchev Applying Confirmation Theory to the Case against Neurolaw
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Neurolaw is the emerging research field and practice of applying neuroscientific knowledge to legal standards and proceedings. This intersection of neuroscience and law has put up some serious claims, the most significant of which is the overall transformation of the legal system as we know it. The claim has met with strong opposition from scholars of law, such as Michael Pardo and Dennis Patterson (2011), who argue that neurolaw (and neuroscience more generally) is conceptually wrong and thus perceive most of it as “nonsense” (Patterson, 2003). I expose a flaw in Pardo and Patterson’s arguments by means of confirmation theory. My main point is that Pardo and Patterson use implicit hypothetico-deductivism in their attack on neurolaw, and that we have good reasons to doubt the employment of such a model, because it faces serious theoretical problems. I then demonstrate how the alleged problems associated with neurolaw disappear if we use a quantitative probabilistic account of confirmation. I also explain why it provides a better account for the way the legal system actually works.
8. Balkan Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Hari Narayanan V Freedom, Responsibility and Jurisprudence
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This paper seeks to argue that advances in the study of freewill and responsibility are directly relevant to jurisprudence. Following Daniel Dennett attempts to discredit the existence of freewill with the help of experiments can be checked by arguing that freedom should be understood as something that has evolved over time rather than being a pre-existent feature of our species. The major function served by freedom is to ensure responsibility for actions. This understanding of freedom as something that evolved to enhance responsibility suggests that freedom can be developed further. This can be understood as enhancing the ability to follow social norms by overcoming factors that limit responsibility. Jurisprudence has to take into account the ability to follow norms as a variable, even within the category of adults, and treat violations accordingly. Further, efforts to enhance the capacity to be free from habitual reactions need to be made part of education, and the state has to focus on this aspect without which the task of ensuring adherence to law of citizens will remain incomplete.
9. Balkan Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Franz Riffert An Introduction to Whitehead’s New View of Learning and Its Relation to Traditional Learning Theories
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Alfred North Whitehead, although probably known best for his collaborative work with Bertrand Russell on the Principia Mathematica, also developed an original theory of learning and instruction which has much to offer for our times. His theory will be discussed in this paper. In order to do so, two criteria are first developed which in their combination give rise to five categories: radical behaviorism, cognitivism, and radical constructivism, with the intermediary categories of moderate behaviorism and moderate constructivism. A great number of educational researchers are ascribed to one of these five categories. After discussing the shortcomings of the three major philosophical proponents of these three major educational approaches (Hume, Kant, and Berkeley), the basic assumptions of Whitehead’s philosophy of organism are presented, and his assumptions concerning learning and teaching are discussed in view of it. Finally, it is shown that Whitehead’s organismic philosophy is able to offer a frame for integrating Behaviorism, Cognitivism, and Constructivism, thereby solving a long standing scandal of education.
10. Balkan Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Rosen Lutskanov Coming to Know by Asking Questions: Exploring the Borderline of Logic and Epistemology
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The paper explores the intricate interplay of two parallel developments: on the one hand, the Socratic turn in epistemology with its shifting focus on information retrieval, evidence-based reasoning, and the cognitive relevance of questions; and the advance of dynamic epistemic logic with its accent on knowledge-acquisition. Both are relevant for any realistic model of knowledge which pays due attention to learning. It is argued that the formal models are still wanting in some key respects, but the development of alternative and mutually complementing logical systems marks a promising trend for re-establishing the close links between epistemology and epistemic logic.
11. Balkan Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Marina Bakalova Setting Whitehead’s “Usable Ideas” in a Philosophical Framework for Human and Machine Learning
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Whitehead believed that education must give us ideas that are usable in our actual lives. This line of thought is naturally provoked by the significant abundance of inert ideas that people pile up though education. The main reason for that, I claim, is the wrong focus of traditional education. It aims at producing individuals that would deliver high results on exams and tests. I take Whitehead’s claim the education must put emphasis on usable ideas as my starting point. I give a specific interpretation of useable ideas as abilities or functions. This provides a ground for connecting Whiteheadian thought to an already existing educational platform, offered by Nel Noddings. Noddings develops a cognitive theory of education which places cognitive structures (I assume a robust analogy between structures, functions, and abilities) in the center of educational concern. At the end of the paper, I estimate some consequences from adopting the terminology of functions for connecting between human and machine learning.
12. Balkan Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Lino Bianco From Poetics to Metapoetics: Architecture Towards Architecture
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An undiscovered chapter in the history of architecture comes from the ex-Soviet Republic of Georgia. Poetics of Architecture is the name given to the studioworkshop at the Georgian Technical University set up by the Georgian architect Shota Bostanashvili (1948–2013). From 1990 until his death he delivered insightful, playful and rather provocative lectures on architecture at this university. He preferred to call his architectural philosophy, critical discourse on architecture. Themes ranged from poetics to metapoetics of architecture. His philosophy of architecture is illustrated by some of his designs and executed projects which demonstrate a drift from existentialism to the philosophy of play. This study includes reference to his last building, a project whose demolition Bostanashvili witnessed before passing away. Based on the concept of the return of the sacred, this edifice was a sort of counter movement to technogenic architecture.
13. Balkan Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Radu Uszkai Robert Nozick’s Evolutionist Turn in Ethics
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The purpose of the present study is that of examining what I call Robert Nozick’s “evolutionist turn” in ethics. More specifically, my aim is to provide an answer to the following question: what type of ethical theory does Robert Nozick sketch in his last book, Invariances? My first objective will be that of delineating the philosophical framework which will accommodate my future discussion, highlighting the distinction between the metaphysical and scientific approaches to ethics as proposed by Ken Binmore, but also Emanuel Socaciu's taxonomy of ethical theories, which stems from the particular way in which moral philosophers tackle the nature of ethical norms and moral motivation. I then set forth to show that, in the philosophical framework previously described, Robert Nozick's approach from Anarchy, State, and Utopia should be seen as a metaphysical one. The last and most important part of my study aims to show how Nozick's “evolutionist turn” took place and developed, from his perspective on rationality in The Nature of Rationality, to his ethical theory advanced in Invariances.
14. Balkan Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Ramona Ardelean Processuality as Refusal of “Freezing”, “Eternizing” or Fragmenting of the Flow of Reality
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Processuality as refusal to “freeze,” “eternize,” and fragment reality is an attempt to deconstruct the I’s main mechanism, which is, as it was named in psychoanalysis, the compulsion of repetition. Through this deceit and illusion fabrication mechanism, the knowing I tries to “freeze”, to “fixate” and to fragment reality, through “catching” it in different images, formulae, dogmas, theories, ideologies, symbols and systems which become just as many “icons” or graven images of reality. This attempt of deconstruction is made from the perspective of a philosophy/vision of process, quite sporadic in the Western space, bringing arguments from the perspective of Henri Bergson and Emil Cioran’s intuitionist philosophy, as well as from that of the new scientific paradigm of quantum mechanics. All these philosophies could be seen as philosophies of process, demanding as it were an understanding of reality in terms of process, and not of result. This understanding of process takes place with the help of intuition, the only one which can grasp, beyond the static, rigid and artificial concepts or categories of the intellect, the movement, “verb” or interior pulsation of things within the framework of an integration process which reveals the unity, non-separability, intercorrelation and mutual interconnectivity of things.
15. Balkan Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Hristo Ivanov Valchev What Is Conceptual Analysis?
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In the present inquiry I explore the concept of conceptual analysis, looking for ways for it to be improved, and I come to the following conclusions. Conceptual analysis as ordinarily understood in analytic philosophy is a method which consists in drawing a conclusion about what the definition of a predicate is on the basis of an armchair investigation into whether the predicate is semantically applicable in different possible cases; but, the concept of conceptual analysis can be improved by making two changes to it: 1) the investigation into whether the predicate is semantically applicable in different possible cases is not to serve as a basis for a conclusion about what the definition of the predicate is, but as a basis for a conclusion about whether this-and-this is an only necessary, only sufficient, both necessary and sufficient, or neither necessary nor sufficient condition for the predicate’s semantic application; 2) the investigation into whether the predicate is semantically applicable in different possible cases is done not only from the armchair, but also empirically.
16. Balkan Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Note from the Editorial Board
17. Balkan Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Richard Robson In What Sense Is Multiculturalism a Form of communitarianism?
18. Balkan Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Slobodan Divjak Communitarianism, Multiculturalism and Liberalism
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In the first part of this text, the author exposes the main features of the liberal or civic state, because both communitarians and multiculturalists tend to criticize that type of state. Their critique of the liberal state and the liberal self as an unencumbered self is “culturalist” by its character. However, it is an expression of conceptual confusion, i.e. of their incomprehension of an essential difference between two conceptual levels: one that belongs to the purely normative rights-justifying perspective and the other that refers to the ontological perspective. Consequently, both of them reject the central liberal thesis according to which the right is prior to the good.The author agrees with an assessment of Richard Robson that multiculturalism is only a form of communitarianism. Contrary to communitarians and multiculturalists, he additionally argues that collective rights are incompatible with the civic state in its pure form because there are structural differences between civic and specific minority rights.Further, the author attempts to show that communitarianism and multiculturalism are forms of postmodernism. Namely, brought to their ultimate logical consequences, the mentioned orientations can be connected to the postmodern notion of radical, irreducible difference.In the conclusive part of the text, he summarizes the common points of communitarianism and multiculturalism and emphasizes the importance of these contemporary theoretical tendencies.
19. Balkan Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Phillip Cole Principled Toleration and Respectful Indifference in the Liberal Polity: A Conceptual Landscape
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This paper examines toleration at two levels. At the first level, liberal individualism is concerned that the individual must be as free as possible to pursue their own goals and lifestyles. At the second level, liberal political theory is concerned with the value of liberal political culture and institutions and how to maintain and protect them. I argue that we can learn a great deal about the exercise of toleration and respect at the level of the liberal polity by examining them at the level of the liberal individual. Both tolerance and intolerance at the level of the polity must be principled. Principled tolerance and intolerance have the following features. First, the judgment whether to tolerate a particular belief or practice must be based on the value of toleration itself, not pragmatic political requirements. Second, it should be an issue of setting aside moral principles and convictions rather than dislikes, prejudices or fears. Third, it should respect the distinction between the public and the private, and should only recognise an issue as one of toleration if there is a public impact at stake.
20. Balkan Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Note from the Editorial Board