According to the knowledge argument, physicalism fails because when physically omniscient Mary first sees red, her gain in phenomenal knowledge involves a gain in factual knowledge. Thus not all facts are physical facts. According to the ability hypothesis, the knowledge argument fails because Mary only acquires abilities to imagine, remember and recognise redness, and not new factual knowledge. I argue that reducing Mary’s new knowledge to abilities does not affect the issue of whether she also learns factually: I show (...) that gaining specific new phenomenal knowledge is required for acquiring abilities of the relevant kind. Phenomenal knowledge being basic to abilities, and not vice versa, it is left an open question whether someone who acquires such abilities also learns something factual. The answer depends on whether the new phenomenal knowledge involved is factual. But this is the same question we wanted to settle when first considering the knowledge argument. The ability hypothesis, therefore, has offered us no dialectical progress with the knowledge argument, and is best forgotten. (shrink)
What follows for the ability hypothesis reply to the knowledge argument if knowledge-how is just a form of knowledge-that? The obvious answer is that the ability hypothesis is false. For the ability hypothesis says that, when Mary sees red for the first time, Frank Jackson’s super-scientist gains only knowledge-how and not knowledge-that. In this paper I argue that this obvious answer is wrong: a version of the ability hypothesis might be true even if knowledge-how is a (...) form of knowledge-that. To establish this conclusion I utilize Jason Stanley and Timothy Williamson’s well-known account of knowledge-how as “simply a species of propositional knowledge” (Stanley & Williamson 2001: 1). I demonstrate that we can restate the core claims of the ability hypothesis – that Mary only gains new knowledge-how and not knowledge-that – within their account of knowledge-how as a species of knowledge-that. I examine the implications of this result for both critics and proponents of the ability hypothesis. (shrink)
David Lewis (1983, 1988) and Laurence Nemirow (1980, 1990) claim that knowing what an experience is like is knowing-how, not knowing-that. They identify this know-how with the abilities to remember, imagine, and recognize experiences, and Lewis labels their view ‘the Ability Hypothesis’. The Ability Hypothesis has intrinsic interest. But Lewis and Nemirow devised it specifically to block certain anti-physicalist arguments due to Thomas Nagel (1974, 1986) and Frank Jackson (1982, 1986). Does it?
This paper explores the ramifications of the extended cognition thesis in the philosophy of mind for contemporary epistemology. In particular, it argues that all theories of knowledge need to accommodate the ability intuition that knowledge involves cognitive ability, but that once this requirement is understood correctly there is no reason why one could not have a conception of cognitive ability that was consistent with the extended cognition thesis. There is thus, surprisingly, a straightforward way of developing our (...) current thinking about knowledge such that it incorporates the extended cognition thesis. (shrink)
According to the Ability Hypothesis, knowing what it is like to have experience E is just having the ability to imagine or recognize or remember having experience E. I examine various versions of the Ability Hypothesis and point out that they all face serious objections. Then I propose a new version that is not vulnerable to these objections: knowing what it is like to experience E is having the ability todiscriminate imagining or having experience E from (...) imagining or having any other experience. I argue that if we replace the ability to imagine or recognize with the ability to discriminate, the Ability Hypothesis can be salvaged. (shrink)
One diagnosis of what is wrong with the Knowledge Argument rests on the Ability Hypothesis. This couples an ability analysis of knowing what an experience is like together with a denial that phenomenal propositions exist. I argue against both components. I consider three arguments against the existence of phenomenal propositions and find them wanting. Nevertheless I deny that knowing phenomenal propositions is part of knowing what an experience is like. I provide a hybrid account of knowing what an (...) experience is like which is the coherent expression of a single idea: knowing what an experience is like is knowing what it would be like to have the phenomenal content of the experience as the content of an experience one is currently having. I explain how my conclusions indicate that the focus of discussion should be on the alleged explanatory gap between phenomenal facts and physical facts and not on the Knowledge Argument. The latter is a poor expression of the difficulty Physicalists face. (shrink)
Whether responsibility for actions and omissions requires the ability to do otherwise is an important issue in contemporary philosophy. However, a closely related but distinct issue, namely whether doxastic responsibility requires the ability to believe otherwise, has been largely neglected. This paper fills this remarkable lacuna by providing a defence of the thesis that doxastic responsibility entails the ability to believe otherwise. On the one hand, it is argued that the fact that unavoidability is normally an excuse (...) counts in favour of this thesis. On the other hand, three objections against this thesis are discussed and criticized. First, one might think that what suffices for doxastic responsibility is control over or influence on certain desirable or undesirable properties of beliefs. It is argued that this objection misrepresents the issue under consideration. Second, it may be objected that the thesis is contradicted by our intuitions in doxastic analogues of Frankfurt-style scenarios. It is argued that distinguishing between belief-universals and belief-particulars helps to see why this argument fails. Third and finally, one might draw an analogy with the asymmetry thesis in ethics by arguing that even if blameworthy belief requires the ability to believe otherwise, praiseworthy belief does not. It is argued that the main arguments in favour of this presumed asymmetry are wanting, partly because they fail to distinguish between two different kinds of praiseworthiness. Finally, the author sketches three implications of the thesis that doxastic responsibility entails the ability to believe otherwise: counterfactual construals of responsible belief might be tenable, the deontological conception of epistemic justification needs revision on an important point, and there might be an important asymmetry between beliefs on the one hand and actions and many non-doxastic consequences on the other. (shrink)
We study the logic of strategic ability of coalitions of agents with bounded memory by introducing Alternating-time Temporal Logic with Bounded Memory (ATLBM), a variant of Alternating-time Temporal Logic (ATL). ATLBM accounts for two main consequences of the assumption that agents have bounded memory. First, an agent can only remember a strategy that specifies actions in a bounded number of different circumstances. While the ATL-formula means that coalition C has a joint strategy which will make φ true forever, the (...) ATLBM-formula means that C has a joint strategy which for each agent in C specifies what to do in no more than n different circumstances and which will make φ true forever. Second, an agent has bounded recall—a strategy can only take the last m states of the system into account. We use the logic to study the interaction between strategic ability, bounded number of decisions, bounded recall and incomplete information. We discuss the logical properties and expressiveness of ATLBM, and its relationship to ATL. We show that ATLBM can express properties of strategic ability under bounded memory which cannot be expressed in ATL. (shrink)
The meaning of niche and competitive ability have long been surrounded by controversy. The reason for this stems from the obscure relationship that exists between these terms. This extends from the views of Darwin through Eltonian tradition to current views in which the meaning of competitive ability is implicitly infused into the paradigm of niche. Distinct operational definitions for niche and competitive ability are therefore established with special reference to plants. It is proposed that potential niche refer (...) explicitly to a theoretical hyperspace of places where a species would leave descendents if all biotic interactions were precluded, and that competitive ability refer to the relative capacity to leave descendents in a particular place in the face of restrictions imposed by competitive interaction. This leads to a qualitative comprehensive theory for coexistence which may be extended to any type of biotic interaction. Niche and competitive ability are both determined by the biological attributes of a species and may be independently adjusted in a population by natural selection in contexts of competition. Species coexistence in nature may therefore be a consequence of alternative evolutionary mechanisms which may operate to various degrees in concert: (1) natural selection leading to niche differentiation; (2) an ongoing process of reciprocal selection (coevolution) which maintains an approximate balance in relative competitive abilities for contested resources. (shrink)
This paper investigates under what conditions a good corporate social responsibility (CSR) can compensate for a relatively poor corporate ability (CA) (quality), and vice versa. The authors conducted an experiment among business administration students, in which information about a financial services company’s CA and CSR was provided. Participants indicated their preferences for the company’s products, stocks, and jobs. The results show that for stock and job preferences, a poor CA can be compensated by a good CSR. For product preferences, (...) a poor CA could not be compensated by a good CSR, at least when people thought that CA is personally relevant to them. Furthermore, a poor CSR could be compensated by a good CA for product, stocks, and job preferences. (shrink)
A company’s product-harm crises often lead to negative publicity which substantially affects purchase intention. This study attempts to examine the purchase intention and its antecedents (e.g., perceived negative publicity) during product-harm crises by simultaneously including perceived corporate ability (CA) and corporate social responsibility (CSR) as moderators. In the study’s proposed model, purchase intention is indirectly affected by perceived CA, negative publicity, and CSR via the mediation of trust and affective identification. At the same time, the influences of perceived negative (...) publicity on trust and affective identification are moderated by perceived CA and CSR, respectively. Empirical testing using a survey of car users from 477 working professionals confirms most of our hypothesized effects except the insignificant moderating effects of perceived CA. Finally, managerial implications and limitations of our findings are discussed. (shrink)
It is nearly universally thought that the kind of decision-making competence that gives one a strong prima facie right to make one's own medical decisions essentially involves having an ability (or abilities) of some sort, or having a certain level or degree of ability (or abilities). When put under philosophical scrutiny, however, this kind of theory does not hold up. I will argue that being competent does not essentially involve abilities, and I will propose and defend a theory (...) of decision-making competence according to which one is competent only if one possesses a certain kind of rationality in making treatment decisions. (shrink)
This paper considers the distribution of responsibility for prevention of negative social or ecological effects of production and consumption. Responsibility is related to ability and ability depends on welfare. An increase in competition between Western companies depresses their profitability, but increases the welfare of Western consumers and,hence, their ability to acknowledge social values. Therefore, an increase in competition on consumer markets shifts the balance in responsibility from companies to consumers to prevent negative external effects from production and (...) consumption patterns. An increase in competition on investor markets will shift the balance in an opposite direction. (shrink)
In previous research on speech imitation, musicality and an ability to sing were isolated as the strongest indicators of good pronunciation skills in foreign languages. We, therefore, wanted to take a closer look at the nature of the ability to sing, which shares a common ground with the ability to imitate speech. This study focuses on whether good singing performance predicts good speech imitation. Fourty-one singers of different levels of proficiency were selected for the study and their (...)ability to sing, to imitate speech, their musical talent and working memory were tested. Results indicated that singing performance is a better indicator of the ability to imitate speech than the playing of a musical instrument. A multiple regression revealed that 64 % of the speech imitation score variance could be explained by working memory together with educational background and singing performance. A second multiple regression showed that 66 % of the speech imitation variance of completely unintelligible and unfamiliar language stimuli (Hindi) could be explained by working memory together with a singer’s sense of rhythm and quality of voice. This supports the idea that both vocal behaviors have a common grounding in terms of vocal and motor flexibility, ontogenetic and phylogenetic development, neural orchestration and sound memory with singing fitting better into the category of "speech" on the productive level and "music" on the acoustic level. As a result, good singers benefit from vocal and motor flexibility, productively and cognitively, in three ways. 1. Motor flexibility and the ability to sing improve language and musical function. 2. Good singers retain a certain plasticity and are open to new and unusual sound combinations during adulthood both perceptually and productively. 3. The ability to sing improves the memory span of the auditory short term memory. (shrink)
This paper looks at the attribution of the ability to lie and not at lying or lies. It also departs from more familiar approaches by focussing on the appraisal of an ability and not on the ability in itself. We believe that this attribution perspective is required to bring out the cognitive and intentional basis of the ability to lie.
This paper argues that if 'reforms' of education designed to raise standards leave unquestioned the notion of fixed differential ability, then they are likely to be self-defeating. It considers alternative ways of formulating knowledge about individual differences reflected both in the literature and in classroom practice, and concludes by making a case for further research to be undertaken to establish frameworks for teaching consistent with an anti-determinist view of individual potential.
Science and technology, including nanoscale science and technology, influences and is influenced by various discourses and areas of action. Ableism is one concept and ability expectation is one dynamic that impacts the direction, vision, and application of nanoscale science and technology and vice versa. At the same time, policy documents that involve or relate to disabled people exhibit ability expectations of disabled people. The authors present ability expectations exhibited within two science and technology direction documents from Asia, (...) as well as in two policy documents generated and influenced by disabled people from Asia. As well, the authors discuss the impact of the ability expectations exhibited in these four documents with respect to the relationship between science and technology and disabled people. (shrink)
Abstract: We challenge a line of thinking at the fore of recent work on epistemic value: the line (suggested by Kvanvig  and others) that if the value of knowledge is “swamped” by the value of mere true belief, then we have good reason to doubt its theoretical importance in epistemology. We offer a value-driven argument for the theoretical importance of knowledge—one that stands even if the value of knowledge is “swamped” by the value of true belief. Specifically, we contend (...) that even if knowledge itself has no special epistemic value, its relationship to other items of value—cognitive abilities—gives ample reason to locate the concept at the very core of epistemology. (shrink)
Here it is argued that in order for something someone “does” to count as a genuine action, the person needn’t have been able to refrain from doing it. If this is right, then two recent defenses of the principle of alternative possibilities, a version of which says that a person is morally responsible for what he has done only if he could have refrained from doing it, are unsuccessful.
Abnormal prosody is a striking feature of the speech of those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), but previous reports suggest large variability among those with ASD. Here we show that part of this heterogeneity can be explained by level of language functioning. We recorded semi-spontaneous but controlled conversations in adults with and without Autism Spectrum Disorder and measured features related to pitch and duration to determine (1) general use of prosodic features, (2) prosodic use in relation to marking information structure, (...) specifically, the emphasis of new information in a sentence (focus) as opposed to information already given in the conversational context (topic), and (3) the relation between prosodic use and level of language function. We found that, compared to typical adults, those with ASD with high language functioning generally used a larger pitch range than controls but did not mark information structure, whereas those with moderate language functioning generally used a smaller pitch range than controls but marked information structure appropriately to a large extent. Both impaired general prosodic use and impaired marking of information structure would be expected to seriously impact social communication and thereby lead to increased difficulty in personal domains, such as making and keeping friendships, and in professional domains, such as competing for employment opportunities. (shrink)
This paper examines recent attempts to revive a classic compatibilist position on free will, according to which having an ability to perform a certain action is having a certain disposition. Since having unmanifested dispositions is compatible with determinism, having unexercised abilities to act, it is held, is likewise compatible. Here it is argued that although there is a kind of capacity to act possession of which is a matter of having a disposition, the new dispositionalism leaves unresolved the main (...) points of dispute concerning free will. (shrink)
In his classic paper, The Principle of Alternate Possibilities, Harry Frankfurt presented counterexamples to the principle named in his title: A person is morally responsible for what he has done only if he could have done otherwise. He went on to argue that the falsity of the Principle of Alternate Possibilities (PAP) implied that the debate between the compatibilists and the incompatibilists (as regards determinism and the ability to do otherwise) did not have the significance that both parties had (...) attributed to it -- since moral responsibility could exist even if no one was able to do otherwise. I have argued that even if PAP is false, there are other principles that imply that moral responsibility entails the ability to do otherwise, and that these principles are immune to Frankfurt-style counterexamples. Frankfurt has attempted to show that my arguments for this conclusion fail. This paper is a rejoinder to that reply; I argue that he has failed to show this. (shrink)
This paper argues that knowledge is an instance of a more general and familiar normative kind—that of success through ability (or success through excellence, or success through virtue). This thesis is developed in the context of three themes prominent in the recent literature: that knowledge attributions are somehow context sensitive; that knowledge is intimately related to practical reasoning; and that one purpose of the concept of knowledge is to flag good sources of information. Wedding these themes to the proposed (...) account helps to explain a wide range of standard Gettier problems. It also helps to explain barn façade cases, which require a different kind of treatment. (shrink)
The claim that knowledge is a kind of success from ability has great theoretical power: it explains the nature of epistemic normativity, why knowledge is incompatible with luck, and why knowledge is more valuable than mere true belief. This paper addresses objections to the view by wedding it with two additional ideas: that intellectual abilities display a certain structure, and that the concept of knowledge functions to flag good information, and good sources of information, for use in practical reasoning.
A knowledge-how attributing sentence of the form ' S knows how to F ' may yield an 'ability-entailing' reading as well as an 'ability-neutral' reading. The present paper offers an epistemological account of the availability of both readings, based on two conceptual distinctions: first, a distinction between a 'practical' and a 'theoretical' kind of knowledge of how to do something; second, a distinction between an 'intrinsic' and an 'extrinsic' kind of ability to do something. The first part (...) of the paper presents the double distinction that constitutes the proposed account; the second part presents a number of theoretical, mainly epistemological motivations for accepting the account. (shrink)