Allendale, Michigan, United States of America
  •  762
    Intuitive Cities: Pre-Reflective, Aesthetic and Political Aspects of Urban Design
    Journal of Aesthetics and Phenomenology 3 (2): 125-145. 2016.
    Evidence affirms that aesthetic engagement patterns our movements, often with us barely aware. This invites an examination of pre-reflective engagement within cities and also aesthetic experience as a form of the pre-reflective. The invitation is amplified because design has political implications. For instance, it can draw people in or exclude them by establishing implicitly recognized public-private boundaries. The Value Sensitive Design school, which holds that artifacts embody ethical and…Read more
  •  747
    Egypt and the Middle East: Democracy, Anti-Democracy and Pragmatic Faith
    Saint Louis University Public Law Review 35 281-302. 2016.
    In this article, I discuss prospects for democracy in the Middle East. I argue, first, that some democratic experiments—for instance, Egypt under Mohammed Morsi—are not in keeping with etymological and historical meanings of democracy; and second, that efforts to promote democracy, especially as exemplified in U.N. documents emphasizing universal rights grounded in Western traditions, are possibly totalitarian and also colonialist and hence counter to democratic ideals insofar as they impart one…Read more
  •  659
    This article contemplates symbols and values inscribed on Cairo’s landscape during the 2011 revolution and the period since, focusing on Tahrir Square and the role of the Egyptian flag in street discourses there. I start by briefly pondering how intertwined popular narratives readied the square and flag as emblems of dissent. Next I examine how these appropriations shaped protests in the square, and how military authorities who retook control in 2013 re-coopted the square and flag, with the reab…Read more
  •  564
    Embodied Cognition and Perception: Dewey, Science and Skepticism
    Contemporary Pragmatism 14 (1): 112-134. 2017.
    This article examines how Modern theories of mind remain even in some materialistic and hence ontologically anti-dualistic views; and shows how Dewey's pragmatism, anticipating Merleau-Ponty, 4E cognitive scientists and especially enactivism, repudiates these theories. Throughout I place Dewey’s thought in the context of scientific inquiry, both recent and historical and including the cognitive as well as traditional sciences; and I show how he incorporated sciences of his day into his thought, …Read more
  •  490
    In this chapter, I examine how Dewey circumnavigated debates between empiricists and a priorists by showing that active bodies can perform integrative operations traditionally attributed to “inner” mechanisms, and how he thereby realized developments at which the artificial intelligence, robotics and cognitive science communities only later arrived. Some of his ideas about experience being constituted through skills actively deployed in cultural settings were inspired by ancient Greek sources. …Read more
  •  464
    This chapter attends to somaesthetic expressions occurring irrespective of knowledge of the movement, using Mandalay’s Water Festival and Cairo’s Arab Spring as case studies. These celebrations and protests feature bodies creatively gravitating around urban structures and according to emotional, cultural concerns, all of this together defining city spaces for a time. Bodies also become venues for artistic refashioning, for example, through creative conversion of injuries into celebratory badge…Read more
  •  418
    Bazin, Cavell and other prominent theorists have asserted that movies are essentially photographic, with more recent scholars such as Carroll and Gaut protesting. Today CGI stands as a further counter, in addition to past objections such as editing, animation and blue screen. Also central in debates is whether photography is transparent, that is, whether it allows us to see things in other times and places. I maintain photography is transparent, notwithstanding objections citing digital manipula…Read more
  •  415
    Debating Public Policy: Ethics, Politics and Economics of Wildlife Management in Southern Africa
    with John Salevurakis
    In O. Kelemen & Gergely Tari (eds.), Bioethics of the “Crazy Ape”, Trivent Publishing. pp. 187-195. 2019.
    Based on field research in Africa, this essay explores three claims: first, that sport hunting places economic value on wildlife and habitats; second, that this motivates conservation practices in the interest of sustaining revenue sources; and, third, that this benefits human populations. If true, then sport hunting may sometimes be justifiable on utilitarian grounds. While not dismissing objections from the likes of Singer and Regan, we suggest their views – if converted into policy in despera…Read more
  •  411
    William James on belief: Turning darwinism against empiricistic skepticism
    Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 46 (3): 477-502. 2010.
    Few address the extent to which William James regards the neo-Lamarckian account of “direct adaptation” as a biological extension of British empiricism. Consequently few recognize the instrumental role that the Darwinian idea of “indirect adaptation” plays in his lifelong efforts to undermine the empiricist view that sense experience molds the mind. This article examines how James uses Darwinian thinking, first, to argue that mental content can arise independently of sense experience; and, secon…Read more
  •  391
    This article focuses on situations and emotional perception. To this end, I start with the Kuleshov effect wherein identical shots of performers manifest different expressions when cut to different contexts. However, I conducted experiments with a twist, using Darth Vader and non-primates, and even here expressions varied with contexts. Building on historically and conceptually linked Gibsonian, Gestalt, phenomenological and pragmatic schools, along with consonant experimental work, I extrapolat…Read more
  •  311
    Architectural Values, Political Affordances and Selective Permeability
    with Mathew Crippen and Vladan Klement
    Open Philosophy 3 (1). 2020.
    This article connects value-sensitive design to Gibson’s affordance theory: the view that we perceive in terms of the ease or difficulty with which we can negotiate space. Gibson’s ideas offer a nonsubjectivist way of grasping culturally relative values, out of which we develop a concept of political affordances, here understood as openings or closures for social action, often implicit. Political affordances are equally about environments and capacities to act in them. Capacities and hence the s…Read more
  •  283
    Richard Shusterman suggested that Maurice Merleau-Ponty neglected “‘lived somaesthetic reflection,’ that is, concrete but representational and reflective body consciousness.” While unsure about this assessment of Merleau-Ponty, lived somaesthetic reflection, or what the late Sam Mallin called “body phenomenology”—understood as a meditation on the body reflecting on both itself and the world—is my starting point. Another is John Dewey’s bodily theory of perception, augmented somewhat by Merleau…Read more
  •  262
    Screen Performers Playing Themselves
    British Journal of Aesthetics 56 (2): 163-177. 2016.
    Whereas recent commentators have suggested that consumer demand, typecasting and marketing lead performers to maintain continuities across films, I argue that cinema has historically made it difficult to subtract performers from roles, leading to relatively constant comportment, and that casting, marketing and audience preference are not only causes but also effects of this. I do so using thought experiments and empirical experiments, for example, by pondering why people say they see Jesus in pa…Read more
  •  254
    Abstract If asked about the Darwinian influence on William James, some might mention his pragmatic position that ideas are “mental modes of adaptation,” and that our stock of ideas evolves to meet our changing needs. However, while this is not obviously wrong, it fails to capture what James deems most important about Darwinian theory: the notion that there are independent cycles of causation in nature. Versions of this idea undergird everything from his campaign against empiricist psychologies t…Read more
  •  189
    Africapitalism, Ubuntu, and Sustainability
    Environmental Ethics 43 (3): 235-259. 2021.
    Ubuntu originated in small-scale societies in precolonial Africa. It stresses metaphysical and moral interconnectedness of humans, and newer Africapitalist approaches absorb ubuntu ideology, with the aims of promoting community wellbeing and restoring a love of local place that global free trade has eroded. Ecological degradation violates these goals, which ought to translate into care for the nonhuman world, in addition to which some sub-Saharan thought systems promote environmental concern as …Read more
  •  187
    Enactive Pragmatism and Ecological Psychology
    Frontiers in Psychology 11. 2020.
    A widely cited roadblock to bridging ecological psychology and enactivism is that the former identifies with realism and the latter identifies with constructivism, which critics charge is subjectivist. A pragmatic reading, however, suggests non-mental forms of constructivism that simultaneously fit core tenets of enactivism and ecological realism. After advancing a pragmatic version of enactive constructivism that does not obviate realism, I reinforce the position with an empirical illustration:…Read more
  •  178
    Psychological Expanses of Dune: Indigenous Philosophy, Americana, and Existentialism
    In Dune and Philosophy: Mind, Monads and Muad’Dib, . forthcoming.
    Like philosophy itself, Dune explores everything from politics to art to life to reality, but above all, the novels ponder the mysteries of mind. Voyaging through psychic expanses, Frank Herbert hits upon some of the same insights discovered by indigenous people from the Americas. Many of these ideas are repeated in mainstream American and European philosophical traditions like pragmatism and existential phenomenology. These outlooks share a regard for mind as ecological, which is more or less t…Read more
  •  176
    In this article, I review textual evidence demonstrating that James and Dewey incorporated Kant’s ideas, even while criticizing him. I specifically argue that the pragmatic evolution of the Kantian a priori carried out by James and Dewey is a transition from the mental to the bodily. I further argue that the parallels between pragmatists and Kant, along with the transition from the mental to bodily, relate to scientific contexts in which all developed their outlooks. Though historically grounded…Read more
  •  174
    Pragmatism and the Valuative Mind
    Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 54 (3): 341. 2018.
    Pragmatism is resurging, especially among embodied cognitive scientists. The growing appreciation of the body accompanying this fits with increasing recognition that cognition and perception are valuative, which is to say, emotional, interested and aesthetic. In what follows, I detail how classical pragmatic thinking—specifically that of William James and John Dewey—anticipates recent valuative theories of mind and how it can be used to develop them further.I begin by discussing James's concept …Read more
  •  169
    Pragmatic Faith in Science and Religion: A Response to New Atheism
    Quadranti – Rivista Internazionale di Filosofia Contemporanea 8 (1-2): 313-337. 2022.
    It is a cliché to say science and religion are antagonistic. The outlook is often promoted by religious people uneducated in the workings of science, and equally by scientifically-oriented individuals with little experience of religion. This essay challenges presumptions about the irreconcilability of science and religion, focusing on action organizing metaphysical principles infusing both. The aim, however, is not to evaluate proofs for God’s existence, nor defend young earth creationism, nor t…Read more
  •  169
    Echoes of Past and Present
    with Matthew Dixon
    In Randall E. Auxier & Megan Volpert (eds.), Tom Petty and Philosophy, Open Court Publishing. pp. 16-25. 2019.
    The album Echo was produced in a depressed, drug-riddled phase when Tom Petty’s first marriage was ending and his physical condition so degraded that he took to using a cane. Petty filmed no videos, avoided playing the album’s songs on the follow-up tour and reported little memory of its making. The thoughtfulness and self-reflection that traumatic circumstances spur distinguish the album. So too does the tendency to look backwards in times of crisis, whether in hopes of finding solidity in t…Read more
  •  140
    Bazin, Cavell and other prominent theorists have asserted that movies are essentially photographic, with more recent scholars such as Carroll and Gaut protesting. Today CGI stands as a further counter, in addition to past objections such as editing, animation and blue screen. Also central in debates is whether photog- raphy is transparent, that is, whether it allows us to see things in other times and places. I maintain photography is transparent, notwithstanding objections citing dig- ital mani…Read more
  •  134
    COVID-19 infects cities, here grasped as quasi-living functioning systems, and the changes inflicted can poetically open us to certain things. Drawing on ecological psychology, we maintain that this brings people into contact with different realities depending on their overall wellbeing, arguing that the aesthetic experience of cities accordingly varies. We then consider iterations of these ideas in dystopian cinema, which portrays global threats altering human relations with technology, art, an…Read more
  •  98
    I begin this article with an increasingly accepted claim: that emotions lend differential weight to states of affairs, helping us conceptually carve the world and make rational decisions. I then develop a more controversial assertion: that environments have non-subjective emotional qualities, which organize behavior and help us make sense of the world. I defend this from ecological and related embodied standpoints that take properties to be interrelational outcomes. I also build on conceptions o…Read more
  •  91
    [Excerpted From Editor's Introduction] Matthew Crippen takes this up in a Marcusian critique of Wittgenstein that attends, among other things, to the place of silence in that discourse. Referring to Horkheimer’s citation of the Latin aphorism that silence is consent, Crippen is critical of Wittgenstein’s admonition that we must pass over in silence those matters of which we cannot speak. This raises fascinating questions for critical theory that Crippen explores particularly with reference to Ma…Read more