Might we have an instinctive tendency to perform helpful actions? This paper explores a model under development in cognitive neuroscience that enables us to understand what instinctive, helpful actions might look like. The account that emerges puts some pressure on key concepts in the philosophical understanding of folk psychology. In developing the contrast, a notion of embodied beliefs is introduced; it arguably fits folk conceptions better than philosophical ones. One upshot is that Humean insights into the role of empathy and (...) instinct in the production of helpful actions are affirmed. (shrink)
This paper argues for two major revisions in the way philosophers standardly think of vision science and vision theories more generally. The first concerns mental representations and the second supervenience. The central result is that the way is cleared for an externalist theory of perception. The framework for such a theory has what are called Aristotelian representations as elements in processes the well-functioning of which is the principal object of a theory of vision.
This commentary discusses several problems with the target article by Ceci et al. First, the results admit of an alternative interpretation that undercuts the conclusion drawn. In addition, at a number of points, the research should be supplemented by examining situations in which there is no tenure-granting policy. Finally, 60% of the questions are concerned with whistle-blowing, but the issues involved in such cases make them much less relevant to the assessment of tenure than the authors suppose. (Published Online February (...) 8 2007). (shrink)
Bickle argues for both a narrow causal reductionism, and a broader ontological-explanatory reductionism. The former is more successful than the latter. I argue that the central and unsolved problem in Bickle's approach to reductionism involves the nature of psychological terms. Investigating why the broader reductionism fails indicates ways in which phenomenology remains more than a handmaiden of neuroscience.
This paper investigates how "representation" is actually used in some areas in cognitive neuroscience. It is argued that recent philosophy has largely ignored an important kind of representation that differs in interesting ways from the representations that are standardly recognized in philosophy of mind. This overlooked kind of representation does not represent by having intentional contents; rather members of the kind represent by displaying or instantiating features. The investigation is not simply an ethnographic study of the discourse of neuroscientists. If (...) there are indeed two different kinds of representations, and the non-standard ones are the ones referred to in some areas of cognitive neuroscience, then we will have to give up the idea that appealing to inner representations with intentional contents is the defining distinction between cognitive neuroscience and behaviorist psychology (Montgomery, 1995). Further, if the conclusions of this paper are correct, many general accounts of how neural states represent are either false or theoretically ill-motivated. (shrink)
Is causation either necessary or sufficient (or both) to make a belief-desire pair the reason for which one acts? In this paper I argue in support of a negative answer to this question, and thus attempt to shift the burden of proof onto the causal theorists. I also provide an outline of a different account of reasons and rationalization. Motivating my inquiry is a concern to show that ordinary ascriptions of reasons are not hostage to future accounts of how the (...) brain works. (shrink)
Every epistemological theory needs to be able to articulate some version of the following principle: If S's belief "q" is to make S's belief "p" justified (or is to make "p" something S knows), then "q" must possess some positive epistemic merit. This paper argues that naturalizing epistemologies do not have access to this principle. The central problem is that of providing a naturalistic account of the notion of a reason-for-which one believes while avoiding internalist commitments. The discussion, which focuses (...) on the work of Alvin Goldman, is part of a general argument against causal accounts of reasons-for-which. (shrink)
Hume's "other words" which follow his first definition of causality in the "enquiry" are standardly read as giving us a counterfactual conditional. I argue that a more accurate reading reveals them to constitute a factual conditional, One reflecting a temporal restriction implicit in the first definition. The other words, So understood, Tell us merely that a component of the relation defined in the first definition is symmetrical.