Browsing by Subject "philosophy of mind"

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  • Lehtonen, Saana (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    The purpose of this thesis is to investigate how a poetic metaphor challenges our common sense notions about the world (the estrangement effect) and enables unorthodox ways of thinking and acting (creative imagination). In the study, I will compare and evaluate theories that investigate the role that metaphor has in lived human experience. All the theories discussed share the view that metaphor is epistemologically important for humans. Two different characterisations of this epistemic importance can be identified: 1) the cognitive view, which emphasises the role of metaphor in unconscious, prelinguistic and embodied thought; 2) the pragmatic and phenomenological view of metaphor as a creative activity, a re-imagining of experience and a communicative phenomenon. Defending the latter position, I argue that metaphor has epistemic value, but not because metaphor serves as a cognitive foundation for shared human knowledge, but because it is a creative human pursuit of imagining new possibilities and ways of being. I will criticise the cognitive metaphor theory (CMT), as proposed by Lakoff and Johnson, which holds that metaphors are the foundation of human thought and reasoning. This position advocates ideas about global and fixed ways of interpreting metaphor. As such, it fails to explain novel poetic or scientific metaphors, but fairs better with common everyday metaphors, which already have fixed meanings. I will argue that the existence of universal cognitive metaphors is highly doubtful. As an alternative to the problematic framework of the cognitive metaphor theory, I propose pragmatic and phenomenological theories. The pragmatic view of metaphor, proposed by Davidson and Rorty, succeeds better at describing the experience which a novel metaphor incites in the reader. This position suggests that metaphor has an effect, which cannot be explained by extension of a word’s meaning. Metaphor is a linguistic stimulus, which forces the reader to do some creative guesswork about its intention and meaning. Metaphor has pragmatic potential, because it motivates human innovation and discovery. The phenomenological position, espoused by Ricoeur, describes the sense of wonder and excitement that living metaphor evokes in us. This view suggests that metaphorical estrangement is closely aligned with the phenomenological method of epoché, suspension of everyday judgment. Ricoeur suggests that poetic metaphor, similar to the epoché, can help us distance ourselves from the natural attitude and reveal novel ontological possibilities for humans. Despite their differences, both the pragmatist and the phenomenological position characterise metaphor as a creative use of language and arrive at similar conclusions. Committing metaphoric acts has positive consequences because metaphors motivate critical thought, prompt self-reflection and re-evaluation of our previous thought, and enable creative problem solving, speculation and invention.
  • Korpi, Janne (2006)
    Ever since Plato, the question of societal arrangement has been an important issue in western philosophy. In his work, Plato presented his view regarding the proper handling of production and labour, and the question of work has been a central issue in political thought ever since. In the beginning of the 21st century, our societies are changing in a vast rate, largely driven by technology, causing rapid changes in the way we work. How human thinking can adapt to fit the needs of contemporary social environment is an important question. In this paper, I will attempt to take one avenue of investigation into this question. I will take a look at what Peter Senge's learning organisation appears to demand from individuals, and investigate the soundness of those claims against Philip Pettit's philosophy of the human mind. My goal is to find out whether Senge's theory involves presuppositions that are unreasonable for humans to have, under Pettit’s view. My primary sources involve Senge’s and Pettit's writings regarding the human mind; the methodological approach I will endorse is that of analytical philosophy, as described by Arthur Pap. Peter Senge proposes five disciplines that are necessary for individuals to master in order for them to successfully work in a learning organisation. These disciplines involve both intellectual and social skills of various types, and require the individual to master her attitudes, intentions and goals in both personal and social contexts. Pettit, however, professes that in order to think, a being must have both the ability to follow rules and to consciously investigate its own attitudes, desires and beliefs. He goes on to claim that an individual cannot achieve these criteria without interaction with other individuals, however: for Pettit, how our thinking apparatus forms is essentially a social question. I will first investigate Peter Senge's five disciplines to illustrate the requirements a learning organisation places on the individuals who operate in such an environment. I will then investigate Philip Pettit's works on the human mind to find support or reprimand to Senge's thought. I will display that Senge and Pettit have very different views into what kinds of social arrangements are possible and feasible, and that this is the source of some of their theoretical differences. In the end of the thesis, I will use Senge's and Pettit's theories to investigate whether a human being can engage in behaviour that completely disregards the self, and whether it is possible to consciously affect the subconscious. Through these considerations I will propose a way to reconciliate between Senge's five disciplines and Pettit's theory of the mind. This reconciliation involves the way in which the participants of the learning organisation learn to trust one another in the organisational context.