Download A Philosophy of Fear by Lars Svendsen PDF

By Lars Svendsen

Surveillance cameras. Airport safety strains. Barred store home windows. We see manifestations of societal fears on a daily basis, and day-by-day information experiences at the newest loved ones probability or raised terror possibility point continuously stoke our experience of imminent doom. In "A Philosophy of Fear", Lars Svendsen explores the underlying rules and concerns at the back of this strong emotion, as he investigates how and why worry has insinuated itself into each element of recent existence. Svendsen delves into technological know-how, politics, sociology and literature to discover the character of worry. He discusses the biology at the back of the emotion, from the neuroscience underlying our struggle or flight' intuition to how worry induces us to take irrational activities in our makes an attempt to reduce hazard. The publication then turns to the political and social geographical regions, investigating the position of worry within the philosophies of Machiavelli and Hobbes, the increase of the fashionable chance society, and the way worry has eroded social belief. The political use of worry within the ongoing conflict on Terror additionally comes below Svendsen's probing gaze, as he investigates no matter if we will be able to ever disentangle ourselves from the continuous kingdom of alarm that defines our age. Svendsen eventually argues for the potential for a brighter, much less nervous destiny that's marked by means of a triumph of humanist optimism. An incisive and thought-provoking meditation, "A Philosophy of Fear" pulls again the curtain that shrouds risks either imagined and actual, forcing us to confront our fears and why we carry to them.

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Extra resources for A Philosophy of Fear

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28 There is no reason to suppose that your consciousness is simply a by-product of your brain. A brain is not aware, you are. No doubt the brain is a central factor in your being conscious, but that is all. Consciousness presupposes the interplay between the brain, the whole body and that body’s environment. The neurosciences have certainly made great strides, but we also have a tendency to overestimate how much they can tell us. For example, many people seem to think that a more scientific explanation for a particular aspect of human action or thought requires some reference to brain activity.

For instance, the biologist E. O. 3 Many theories point to the illusionary nature of free will. ’4 However, the matter is not so simple as that. Many theories also support free will and many experiences speak against it. And when it comes to Johnson’s assertion about the lifting of a finger, the neurophysiologist Benjamin Libet has developed a much debated experiment that, many argue, demonstrates that we can neither lift a finger nor refrain from doing so just as we please. Instead, finger lifting is an activity that begins in the brain before our consciousness gets involved.

Like a compass reading, the feeling of doing tells us something about the operation of the ship. But also like a compass reading, this information must be understood as a conscious experience, a candidate for the dreaded ‘epiphenomenon’ label . . 7 We think we experience our decisions affecting the physical world – that is something the epiphenomenalist will also concede. However, the experience that it is ‘I’, in the sense of my will, that for example lifts my arm is no guarantee that this is actually the case.

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