Some eliminativists have predicted that a developed neuroscience will eradicate the principles and theoretical kinds (belief, desire, etc.) implicit in our ordinary practices of mental state attribution. Prevailing defenses of common-sense psychology infer its basic integrity from its familiarity and instrumental success in everyday social commerce. Such common-sense defenses charge that eliminativist arguments are self-defeating in their folk psychological appeal to the belief that eliminativism is true. I argue that eliminativism is untouched by this simple charge of inconsistency, and (...) introduce a different dialectical strategy for arguing against the eliminativist. In keeping with the naturalistic trend in the sociology and philosophy of science, I show that neuroscientists routinely rely on folk psychological procedures of intentional state attribution in applying epistemically reliable standards of scientific evaluation. These scientific contexts place ordinary procedures of attribution under greater stress, producing evidence of folk psychological success that is less equivocal than the evidence in mundane settings. Therefore, the dependence of science on folk psychology, when combined with an independently plausible explanatory constraint on reduction and an independently motivated notion of theoretical stress, allows us to reconstitute the charge of (neurophilic) eliminativist inconsistency in a more sophisticated form. (shrink)
It has been shown that, when observing an action, infants can rely on either outcome selection information (i.e., actions that express a choice between potential outcomes) or means selection information (i.e., actions that are causally efficient toward the outcome) in their goal attribution. However, no research has investigated the relationship between these two types of information when they are present simultaneously. In an experiment that addressed this question directly, we found that when outcome selection information could disambiguate the goal (...) of the action (e.g., the action is directed toward one of two potential targets), but means selection information could not (i.e., the action is not efficiently adjusted to the situational constraints), 7- and 9-month-old infants did not attribute a goal to an observed action. This finding suggests that means selection information takes primacy over outcome selection information. The early presence of this bias sheds light on the nature of the notion of goal in action understanding. (shrink)
In this paper, we show how an internal tension in Wilfrid Sellars’s understanding of truth, as well as an external tension in his account of meaning attribution, can be resolved while adhering to a Sellarsian spirit, by appealing to the particular fictionalist accounts of truth-talk and proposition-talk (including meaning-attribution) that we have developed elsewhere.
Interpreting the world through a social lens is a central characteristic of human cognition. Humans ascribe intentions to the behaviors of other individuals and groups. Humans also make inferences about others’ emotional and mental states. This capacity for social attribution underlies many of the concepts at the core of legal and political systems. The developing scientific understanding of the neural mechanisms used in social attribution may alter many earlier suppositions. However, just as often, these new methods will lead (...) back to old conundrums. Cognitive neuroscience will not dispel the hard problems of social judgment. (shrink)
Une application d’attribution d’auteur au moyen de la distance intertextuelle en anglais Le calcul de distance intertextuelle que C. et D. Labbé appliquent aux textes français peut être utilisé pour différencier les œuvres d’au moins deux auteurs dramatiques contemporains de l’époque élisabéthaine, William Shakespeare et Thomas Middleton. Bien que les 46 textes sous étude, transcrits avec une orthographe moderne, ne soient pas lemmatisés et que seuls des échantillons de textes de même longueur aient été utilisés, les indices de distance (...) intertextuelle qu’on a pu ainsi établir empiriquement sont du même ordre de grandeur que ceux qu’ont établis C. et D. Labbé pour le français. Timon of Athens considéré comme étant pour deux-tiers de Shakespeare et pour un tiers de Middleton se place entre le groupe des œuvres de Shakespeare et celui des œuvres de Middleton dans une analyse multidimensionnelle de 1035 distances intertextuelles. (shrink)
In three experiments we studied lay observers’ attributions of responsibility for an antisocial act (homicide). We systematically varied both the degree to which the action was coerced by external circumstances and the degree to which the actor endorsed and accepted ownership of the act, a psychological state that philosophers have termed ‘identiﬁcation’. Our ﬁndings with respect to identiﬁcation were highly consistent. The more an actor was identiﬁed with an action, the more likely observers were to assign responsibility to the actor, (...) even when the action was performed under constraints so powerful that no other behavioral option was available. Our ﬁndings indicate that social cognition involving assignment of responsibility for an action is a more complex process than previous research has indicated. It would appear that laypersons’ judgments of moral responsibility may, in some circumstances, accord with philosophical views in which freedom and determinism are regarded to be compatible. (shrink)
We argue that the causal account offered by analytic functionalism provides the best account of the folk psychological theory of mind, and that people ordinarily define mental states relative to the causal roles these states occupy in relation to environmental impingements, external behaviors, and other mental states. We present new empirical evidence, as well as review several key studies on mental state ascription to diverse types of entities such as robots, cyborgs, corporations and God, and explain how this evidence supports (...) a functional account. We also respond to two challenges to this view based on the embodiment hypothesis, or the claim that physical realizers matter over and above functional role, and qualia. In both cases we conclude that research to date best supports a functional account of ordinary mental state concepts. (shrink)
Ordinary moral thought often commits what social psychologists call 'the fundamental attributionerror'. This is the error of ignoring situational factors and overconfidently assuming that distinctive behaviour or patterns of behaviour are due to an agent's distinctive character traits. In fact, there is no evidence that people have character traits (virtues, vices, etc.) in the relevant sense. Since attribution of character traits leads to much evil, we should try to educate ourselves and others to stop doing (...) it. (shrink)
It has been argued that the attribution of intentional actions is sensitive to our moral judgment. I suggest an alternative, where the attribution of intentional actions depends on modal (and not moral) considerations. We judge a foreseen side-effect of an agent’s intentionally performed action to be intentional if the following modal claim is true: if she had not ignored considerations about the foreseen side-effect, her action might have been different (other things being equal). I go through the most (...) important examples of the asymmetry in the attribution of intentionality and point out that the modal account can cover all the problematic cases, whereas the moral account can’t. (shrink)
There is considerable debate in comparative psychology and philosophy over whether nonhuman animals can attribute beliefs. The empirical studies that suggest that they can are shown to be inconclusive, and the main philosophical and empirical arguments that purport to show they cannot are shown to be invalid or weak. What is needed to move the debate and the field forward, it is argued, is a fundamentally new experimental protocol for testing belief attribution in animals, one capable of distinguishing genuine (...) belief-attributing subjects from their perceptual-state attributing and behavior-reading counterparts. Such a protocol is outlined and defended. The rest, it is argued, is in the hands of experimentalists. (shrink)
In tactile-visual sensory substitution (TVSS), images from a video camera are converted into patterns of vibrotactile stimulation that visually impaired subjects can use to perform tasks ordinarily guided by seeing. A main finding in early experiments conducted by Paul Bach-y-Rita and colleagues is that subjects equipped with a TVSS device engaged in distal attribution – attributed the cause of the stimulations they received to objects in the external, three-dimensional scene – only when they had active control over how the (...) camera moved. Subjects who received visual input passively experienced only a changing pattern of tactile stimulation. Why was this the case? According to proponents of the sensorimotor contingency theory, active control of the camera is necessary for the emergence of distal attribution because it enables the subject to acquire knowledge of the laws of sensorimotor contingency that govern use of the TVSS device. This chapter, by contrast, approaches distal attribution as a solution to a causal inference problem faced by the subject’s perceptual systems. Given all of the available endogenous and exogenous evidence available to those systems, what is the most probable source of stimulation in the substituting modality? From this perspective, active control over the camera’s movements matters for rather different reasons. First, when the subject is unaware of how (or even whether) the camera is moving, all of the evidence at her disposal is consistent with the default haptic interpretation of incoming vibrotactile stimulation: the most probable cause of that stimulation is bodily contact with an object of some kind. It is thus unsurprising that a passively stimulated subject does not learn to discriminate the spatial layout of the external scene by means of TVSS. Second, when the subject has the ability to guide camera movement, she also has a significant amount of voluntary control over whether and how incoming vibrotactile stimulation undergoes change. In consequence, the situation is now one that conflicts with the default haptic interpretation: it is not typically possible to modify sensations on the surface of one’s back by moving a camera mounted on a tripod or on one’s head. Last, active control over the camera’s movements generates proprioceptive and efference-copy based information about the camera’s body-relative position necessary to make use of the spatial cues present in the stimulation that the subject receives for purposes of egocentric object localization. (shrink)
One of the most common views about self-deception ascribes contradictory beliefs to the self-deceiver. In this paper it is argued that this view (the contradiction strategy) is inconsistent with plausible common-sense principles of belief attribution. Other dubious assumptions made by contradiction strategists are also examined. It is concluded that the contradiction strategy is an inadequate account of self-deception. Two other well-known views — those of Robert Audi and Alfred Mele — are investigated and found wanting. A new theory of (...) self-deception relying on an extension of Mark Johnston's subintentional mental tropisms is proposed and defended. (shrink)
This book provides a formal ontology of senses and the belief-relation that grounds the distinction between de dicto, de re, and de se beliefs as well as the opacity of belief reports. According to this ontology, the relata of the belief-relation are an agent and a special sort of object-dependent sense (a "thought-content"), the latter being an "abstract" property encoding various syntactic and semantic constraints on sentences of a language of thought. One bears the belief-relation to a thought-content T just (...) in case one (is disposed as one who) inwardly affirms a certain sentence S of one’s language of thought that satisfies what T encodes, which in turn requires that S’s non-logical parts stand in appropriate semantical relations to items specified by T. Since these items may include other senses as well as ordinary objects, beliefs of arbitrary complexity are automatically accommodated. Within the framework of the formal ontology, a context-dependent compositional semantics is then provided for a fragment of regimented English capable of formulating ascriptions of belief—a semantics that treats substitutional opacity as a genuine semantic datum. Finally, the resulting picture of belief and its attribution is defended by showing how it solves standard puzzles, avoids objections to rival accounts, and satisfies certain adequacy conditions not fulfilled by traditional theories. Along the way, clarification and defense is offered for the ingredient conception of object-dependent senses, and it is shown how adoption of the language of thought hypothesis permits Bertrand Russell’s obscure doctrine of logical forms to be understood in a way that not only vindicates his Multiple Relation theory of de re belief but also reveals the connection between these logical forms and thought-contents. (shrink)
Are current theories of moral responsibility missing a factor in the attribution of blame and praise? Four studies demonstrated that even when cause, intention, and outcome (factors generally assumed to be sufficient for the ascription of moral responsibility) are all present, blame and praise are discounted when the factors are not linked together in the usual manner (i.e., cases of ‘‘causal deviance’’). Experiment 4 further demonstrates that this effect of causal deviance is driven by intuitive gut feelings of right (...) and wrong, not logical deliberation. Ó 2003 Published by Elsevier Science (USA). (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to discuss Norman Kretzmann's account of Aquinas's discussion of will in God. According to Kretzmann, Aquinas's reasoning seems to leave no place for choice on God's part, since, on Aquinas's account, God is not free not to will Himself. And so this leads to the problem about God's willing things other than Himself. On this, Kretzmann finds serious problems with Thomas's position. Kretzmann argues that Aquinas should have drawn necessitarian conclusions from his account of (...) divine will. Moreover, in light of one reading of De veritate, q. 24, a. 3, but one not accepted by the Leonine edition, Kretzmann also maintains that Aquinas practically conceded this necessitarian view of God's creative activity in that text. My purpose will be, after presenting Kretzmann's presentation and defence of Aquinas's attribution of will to God, to examine critically his claim that Thomas should have concluded that God is not free not to create, and to determine whether a stronger argument can be made in support of Aquinas's position in light of his texts. (shrink)
Mindreading is the ability to attribute mental states to other individuals. According to the Theory-Theory (TT), mindreading is based on one's possession of a Theory of Mind. On the other hand, the Simulation Theory (ST) maintains that one arrives at the attribution of a mental state by simulating it in one's own mind. In this paper, I propose a ST-TT hybrid model of the ability to attribute disgust on the basis of visual stimuli such as facial expressions, body postures, (...) etc. More precisely, while I defend Goldman's (2006) thesis that the ability to attribute disgust based on observing disgusted facial expressions stems from a mirror-based simulation process, I argue that ST is unable to account for the ability to attribute disgust based on non-facial visual stimuli; I propose, rather, that this latter ability is theory-based. My model is grounded in evidence from individuals suffering from Huntington's Disease. (shrink)
A ‘Radical Simulationist’ account of how folk psychology functions has been developed by Robert Gordon. I argue that Radical Simulationism is false. In its simplest form it is not sufficient to explain our attribution of mental states to subjects whose desires and preferences differ from our own. Modifying the theory to capture these attributions invariably generates innumerable other false attributions. Further, the theory predicts that deficits in mentalizing ought to co-occur with certain deficits in imagining perceptually-based scenarios. I present (...) evidence suggesting that this prediction is false, and outline further possible empirical tests of the theory. (shrink)
I here defend my earlier doubts that VM patients serve as counterexamples to motivational internalism by highlighting the difficulties of belief attribution in light of holism about the mental and by suggesting that a better understanding of the role of emotions in the self-attribution of moral belief places my earlier Davidsonian "theory of mind" argument in a clearer light.
The hierarchical analysis of existence attribution is Fregean in its endorsement of senses, understood as guises. Furthermore, the hierarchical analysis makes an essential use of the Russellian analysis (9′) as a means to understand what it is for a sense to present a given entity (cf. biconditional (11) above). The hierarchical analysis, on the other hand, is more general than the Russellian one and hence - in accordance with natural language usage - allows for a wider range of applications.
We contrast two positions concerning the initial domain of actions that infants interpret as goal-directed. The 'narrow scope' view holds that goal-attribution in 6- and 9-month-olds is restricted to highly familiar actions (such as grasping) (). The cue-based approach of the infant's 'teleological stance' (), however, predicts that if the cues of equifinal variation of action and a salient action effect are present, young infants can attribute goals to a 'wide scope' of entities including unfamiliar human actions and actions (...) of novel objects lacking human features. It is argued that previous failures to show goal-attribution to unfamiliar actions were due to the absence of these cues. We report a modified replication of showing that when a salient action-effect is presented, even young infants can attribute a goal to an unfamiliar manual action. This study together with other recent experiments reviewed support the 'wide scope' approach indicating that if the cues of goal-directedness are present even 6-month-olds attribute goals to unfamiliar actions. (shrink)
The authors examined how a perceiver’s identification of a target person’s actions covaries with attributions of mind to the target. The authors found in Study 1 that the attribution of intentionality and cognition to a target was associated with identifying the target’s action in terms of high-level effects rather than low-level details. In Study 2, both action identification and mind attribution were greater for a liked target, and in Study 3, they were reduced for a target suffering misfortune. (...) In Study 4, it was again found that action identification and mind attribution were greater for a liked target, but like that for the self or a liked other, positive actions were identified at higher levels than negative actions, with the reverse being true for disliked others. In Study 5, the authors found that instructing participants to adopt the target’s perspective did not affect mind attribution but did lead to higher level identifications of the.. (shrink)
This paper looks at the attribution of moral responsibility in the light of Kant's claim that the maxims of our actions should be universalizable. Assuming that it is often difficult for us to judge which actions satisfy this test, it suggests one way of translating Kantian morality into practice. Suppose that it is possible to read each action, via its maxim, as a communication addressed to the world: as an attempt to set the terms on which we should interact (...) with one another. The paper suggests that respect for the actor requires us to take this communication seriously. When we suppose that an action is wrong, we then have a powerful reason to dispute its message: to hold the actor responsible for her deed. Although we are often unreliable judges ‘in our own case’, our mutual attributions of responsibility show us judging together, what the moral law should mean in practice. (shrink)
That organisms have a concept “see” does not necessarily entail that they attribute knowledge to others or predict others' behaviors on the basis of inferred mental states. An alternative experimental protocol is proposed in which accurate prediction of the location of an experimenters' impending appearance is contingent upon subjects' attribution of knowledge to the experimenter.
In "the first person" chisholm argues that the primary form of belief is non-Propositional belief about oneself. Belief about others is essentially indirect, Mediated by the attribution of a property to oneself. In this paper I argue that chisholm's account cannot give a non-Circular explanation of various plausible examples of "de re" belief.
I argue that, in an important range of cases, judging that one disagrees with an epistemic peer requires attributing, either to one's peer or to oneself, a failure of rationality. There are limits, however, to how much irrationality one can coherently attribute, either to oneself or to another. I argue that these limitations on the coherent attribution of rational error put constraints on permissible responses to peer disagreement. In particular, they provide reason to respond to one-off disagreements with a (...) single peer by maintaining one's beliefs, and they provide reason to moderate one's beliefs when faced with repeated disagreement, or disagreement with multiple peers. Finally, I argue that, though peer disagreement is rare, the occasions on which it does occur tend to be especially important, and the kind of response supported here is correspondingly important. In particular, how leading researchers spend their time and effort depends, in part, on how they respond to peer disagreement. And only a response of the kind supported here strikes the right balance between allowing individual researchers to freely pursue what seems to them to be worthwhile projects, and requiring that they pursue those research projects that the community of experts as a whole believes to be likely to yield significant results. (shrink)
Ignorance has been both vilified and celebrated throughout the ages. However, the social sciences have had little to say about this topic over the years. In this paper, we argue that in an age of competing and contrasting worldviews, scholarly attention to ignorance can shed light on interpersonal processes and relational dynamics that occur in encounters between subjects holding different points of view. We discuss data from two studies documenting an attribution of ignorance in social relations that serves to (...) relegate the other's point of view to one that stands in need of education or correction. We argue that this communicative strategy enacts a semantic barrier that serves to retain the interlocutor's original point of view unscathed and unchallenged. We argue that this limits dialogical relations by eliminating the requirement for perspective-taking in social dialogue. (shrink)
A signiﬁcant portion of the world’s text is tagged by readers on social bookmarking websites. Credit attribution is an inherent problem in these corpora because most pages have multiple tags, but the tags do not always apply with equal speciﬁcity across the whole document. Solving the credit attribution problem requires associating each word in a document with the most appropriate tags and vice versa. This paper introduces Labeled LDA, a topic model that constrains Latent Dirichlet Allocation by deﬁning (...) a one-to-one correspondence between LDA’s latent topics and user tags. This allows Labeled LDA to directly learn word-tag correspondences. We demonstrate Labeled LDA’s improved expressiveness over traditional LDA with visualizations of a corpus of tagged web pages from del.icio.us. Labeled LDA outperforms SVMs by more than 3 to 1 when extracting tag-speciﬁc document snippets. As a multi-label text classiﬁer, our model is competitive with a discriminative baseline on a variety of datasets. (shrink)
I am an M.D/Ph.D. student and work as a research assistant for the director of a division of the school of medicine who is an M.D. He assigned me to research a certain topic and gave me no guidelines or guidance as to how to do it. Nevertheless, I did the research and wrote it up. My supervisor liked the report and said that he thought it was so good that “I would like to offer you the opportunity to publish (...) it and list you as the primary author.” Some bells went off when he so grandly offered to let me author the report for which I had done 100% of research and writing. I consulted some other people in the field and they said that, as long as I was the primary author, it was legitimate for him to list himself as secondary author if he did some editing later. After editing the abstract only, he e-mailed his revisions to me and in a note at the bottom he asked me what I thought of his revised author order. His name was first, mine second, and the name of his girlfriend (who had no part in this research or its revision) was third. I was shocked by what seemed to be a case of unethical author attribution and confronted him asking why he changed the order when we had agreed that I was primary author. He said that he had put in several hours of work. (shrink)
Gilbert Harman argues that the warrant for the lay attribution of character traits is completely undermined by the “fundamental attribution error” (FAE). He takes it to have been established by social psychologists, that the FAE pervades ordinary instances of lay person perception. However, examination of recent work in psychology reveals that there are good reasons to doubt that the effects observed in experimental settings, which ground the case for the FAE, pervade ordinary instances of person perception. Furthermore, it (...) is possible to make sense of these experimental results without invoking the FAE. Harman's argument against lay character trait attribution is unsubstantiated. South African Journal of Philosophy Vol. 25 (4) 2006: pp. 350-368 “Error of Opinion may be Tolerated When Reason is Left Free to Combat It.” Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address 4 March 1801. (shrink)
We propose a naturalistic version of the “guesser–knower” paradigm in which the experimental subject has an opportunity to choose which individual to follow to a hidden food source. This design allows nonhumans to display the attribution of knowledge to another conspecific, rather than a human, in a naturalistic context (finding food), and it is readily adapted to different species.
According to Brentano, what is characteristic of every mental act is the reference to something as an object. The exact nature of an object of our mental acts has, however, been first the subject of steady discussion in Brentano's writings and consecutively gave rise to controversy for contemporary philosophers of mind; e.g. Chisholm, Castañeda. What follows is an elucidation of the relationship between Brentano's final theory of sensation and its interpretation in Chisholm's Direct Attribution theory as a consideration of (...) a recent challenge by Castañeda: that while the Brentanian-Chisholmian account is exemplary in dealing with tacit self-reference at the level of unreflective consciousness, this theory needs to be developed even further to be adequate to those cases of self-reference involved in reflective consciousness. (shrink)
In this paper, a case study is conducted to test the capability of the Carneades Argumentation System to model the argumentation in a case where forensic evidence was collected in an investigation triggered by a conflict among art experts on the attribution of a painting to Leonardo da Vinci. A claim that a portrait of a young woman in a Renaissance dress could be attributed to da Vinci was initially dismissed by art experts. Forensic investigations were carried out, and (...) evidence was collected by art history experts and scientific experts. The expert opinions were initially in conflict, but new evidence shifted the burden of proof onto the side of the skeptics. This paper presents an analysis of the structure of the interlocking argumentation in the case using argument mapping tools to track the accumulation of evidence pro and con. (shrink)
In ‘A modal theory of function’, I gave an argument against all existing theories of function and outlined a new theory. Karen Neander and Alex Rosenberg argue against both my negative and my positive claim. My aim here is not merely to defend my account from their objections, but to (a) very briefly point out that the new account of etiological function they propose in response to my criticism cannot avoid the circularity worry either and, more importantly, to (b) highlight, (...) and attempt to make precise, an important feature of my modal theory that may have been understated in the original paper – that function attributions depend on the explanatory project at hand. (shrink)
The metatethical position known as motive internalism (MI) holds that moral beliefs are necessarily motivating. Adina Roskies (in Philosophical Psychology, 16) has recently argued against MI by citing patients with injuries to the ventromedial (VM) cortex as counterexamples to MI. Roskies claims that not only do these patients not act in accordance with their professed moral beliefs, they exhibit no physiological or affective evidence of being motivated by these beliefs. I argue that Roskies' attempt to falsify MI is unpersuasive because (...) the evidence used to attribute the relevant moral beliefs to VM patients is insufficient: Contra Roskies, that VM patients are proficient moral reasoners does not establish the presence of these moral beliefs. In addition, the linguistic evidence Roskies cites (a) is vulnerable to methodological worries about its reliability or authenticity, (b) does not override counterevidence derived from the patients' nonlinguistic behavior, and (c) is undermined by VM patients' inability to correctly attribute moral beliefs to others. I conclude with a proposal about how MI should be interpreted, given that it is not falsified by empirical evidence of the sort put forth by Roskies. (shrink)
In two experiments, we investigated whether 13-month-old infants expect agents to behave in a way consistent with information to which they have been exposed. Infants watched animations in which an animal was either provided information or prevented from gathering information about the actual location of an object. The animal then searched successfully or failed to retrieve it. Infants’ looking times suggest that they expected searches to be effective when—and only when—the agent had had access to the relevant information. This result (...) supports the view that infants’ possess an incipient metarepresentational ability that permits them to attribute beliefs to agents. We discuss the viability of more conservative explanations and the relationship between this early ability and later forms of ‘theory of mind’ that appear only after children have become experienced verbal communicators. (shrink)
This essay offers a new reading of Heidegger’s early “formally indicative” view of religious life as a broad critique of popular representations of religious life in the human sciences and public discourse. While it has frequently been understood that Heidegger’s work aims at the “enactment” of religious life, the logic and implications of this have been rather unclear to most readers. Presenting that logic, I argue that Heidegger’s point parallels that of Alfred Schutz in suggesting that typical academic discussions of (...) religion constitute a determinate, deficient way of relating to religious individuals and groups and their concerns. Those concerns appear to the researcher herself in a way that they would not if the theorist were actually entertaining them as states of affairs in the real world, leading her to attribute beliefs to a hypothetical “nobody.” Heidegger’s early notion of formal indication explains the logic behind our lack of “realism” toward certain topics of research, and his comments on the study of religious life are a paradigm case for the descriptive fallacies that phenomenology can help to address. (shrink)
A common argument for evidentialism is that the norms of assertion, specifically those bearing on warrant and assertability, regulate belief. On this assertoric model of belief, a constitutive condition for belief is that the believing subject take her belief to be supported by sufficient evidence. An equally common source of resistance to these arguments is the plausibility of cases in which a speaker, despite the fact that she lacks warrant to assert that p, nevertheless attributes to herself the belief that (...) p. In the following, I will outline a variety of ways a speaker may contrastively attribute a belief to herself. In light of what these contrastive statements communicate, cases of attributing beliefs with little or no warrant to oneself offer no substantive counter-example to the evidentialist argument from assertion. (shrink)
Twentieth-century action theory has concentrated on the relationship of intention to action, and thereby the relationship of belief as an occurrent state of the agent to the agent’s action. This stress on belief appears to be predicated on the view that our actions are primarily guided by our understanding of the relevant conditions of action, a view encouraged by the fact that we can and do attribute beliefs to ourselves and others to explain instances of the failure of an action (...) toachieve a desired outcome. I argue that, to the contrary, there is no compelling reason to conclude that such attributions imply that our actions are guided by occurrent beliefs. The alternative view offered is that our actions are typically guided by habit, but in cases of pragmatic failure we attribute putative prefailurebeliefs on the basis of the overall intention of action and relevant background understanding. (shrink)
Could computers ever be conscious? Will they ever have ideas that one could attribute to them and not to the programmer? Will robots be able to 'feel pain', instead of processing bits from sensors informing about danger? Will they have true emotions? These questions may never be answered, but it makes sense to ask whether humans will ever attribute mind to artifacts. This paper suggests introducing a third level of claims regarding artificial intelligence (AI), which is in between 'weak AI' (...) and 'strong AI', the so-called 'attributed AI'. This level requires more than weak AI ('behave as if', which could be said of any desktop calculator), but is less presumptuous than strong AI ('computers that think', a claim that is hard to prove). Attributed AI can be measured. This paper discusses behavioral paradigms for measurements of attributed AI and presents first experimental data. (shrink)
In this paper, we argue that the so-called Knobe-Effect constitutes an error. There is now a wealth of data confirming that people are highly prone to what has also come to be known as the ‘side-effect effect’. That is, when attributing psychological states—such as intentionality, foreknowledge, and desiring—as well as other agential features—such as causal control—people typically do so to a greater extent when the action under consideration is evaluated negatively. There are a plethora of models attempting to account for (...) this effect. We hold that the central question of interest is whether the effect represents a competence or an error in judgment. We offer a systematic argument for the claim that the burden of proof regarding this question is on the competence theorist. We sketch an account, based on the notion of the reactive attitudes, that can accommodate both the idea that these sorts of judgments are fundamentally normative and that they often constitute errors. (shrink)
Summary A total of 1068 secondary school pupils completed a questionnaire concerned with enjoyment of school, enjoyment of subjects and what they attributed academic success to. Gender differences were shown in the overall enjoyment of school (girls expressing greater enjoyment). Girls also reported liking friends, teachers, outings and lessons more than boys, while boys reported liking sports and school clubs more. Enjoyment of school subjects reflected traditional sex stereotyping: girls reported more liking than did boys for English, French, German, history, (...) drama, music and home economics while boys reported more liking for science. craft and design technology, physical education and information technology. Some gender differences were shown in rating factors contributing to academic success (girls rating hard work and teachers? liking for you as more important than boys, and boys rating cleverness, talent and luck as more important than girls) but attributions with respect to academic success varied more with age than with gender. (shrink)
In the philosophical literature on mental states, the paradigmatic examples of mental states are beliefs, desires, intentions, and phenomenal states such as being in pain. The corresponding list in the psychological literature on mental state attribution includes one further member: the state of knowledge. This article examines the reasons why developmental, comparative and social psychologists have classified knowledge as a mental state, while most recent philosophers--with the notable exception of Timothy Williamson-- have not. The disagreement is traced back to (...) a difference in how each side understands the relationship between the concepts of knowledge and belief, concepts which are understood in both disciplines to be closely linked. Psychologists and philosophers other than Williamson have generally have disagreed about which of the pair is prior and which is derivative. The rival claims of priority are examined both in the light of philosophical arguments by Williamson and others, and in the light of empirical work on mental state attribution. (shrink)
Within the Cognitive Science of Religion, Justin Barrett has proposed that humans possess a hyperactive agency detection device that was selected for in our evolutionary past because ‘over detecting’ (as opposed to ‘under detecting’) the existence of a predator conferred a survival advantage. Within the Intelligent Design debate, William Dembski has proposed the law of small probability, which states that specified events of small probability do not occur by chance. Within the Fine-Tuning debate, John Leslie has asserted a tidiness principle (...) such that, if we can think of a good explanation for some state of affairs, then an explanation is needed for that state of affairs. In this paper I examine similarities between these three proposals and suggest that they can all be explained with reference to the existence of an explanation attribution module in the human mind. The forgoing analysis is considered with reference to a contrast between classical rationality and what Gerd Gigerenzer and others have called ecological rationality. (shrink)
This paper is concerned with the problem of selfidentification in the domain of action. We claim that this problem can arise not just for the self as object, but also for the self as subject in the ascription of agency. We discuss and evaluate some proposals concerning the mechanisms involved in selfidentification and in agencyascription, and their possible impairments in pathological cases. We argue in favor of a simulation hypothesis that claims that actions, whether overt or covert, are centrally simulated (...) by the neural network, and that this simulation provides the basis for action recognition and attribution. (shrink)
Ordinary people often make moral judgments that are consistent with philosophical principles and legal distinctions. For example, they judge killing as worse than letting die, and harm caused as a necessary means to a greater good as worse than harm caused as a side-effect (Cushman, Young, & Hauser, 2006). Are these patterns of judgment produced by mechanisms specific to the moral domain, or do they derive from other psychological domains? We show that the action/omission and means/side-effect distinctions affect nonmoral representations (...) and provide evidence that their role in moral judgment is mediated by these nonmoral psychological representations. Specifically, the action/omission distinction affects moral judgment primarily via causal attribution, while the means/side-effect distinction affects moral judgment via intentional attribution. We suggest that many of the specific patterns evident in our moral judgments in fact derive from nonmoral psychological mechanisms, and especially from the processes of causal and intentional attribution. (shrink)
This paper examines the implications of certain social psychological experiments for moral theory—specifically, for virtue theory. Gilbert Harman and John Doris have recently argued that the empirical evidence offered by ‘situationism’ demonstrates that there is no such thing as a character trait. I dispute this conclusion. My discussion focuses on the proper interpretation of the experimental data—the data themselves I grant for the sake of argument. I develop three criticisms of the anti-trait position. Of these, the central criticism concerns three (...) respects in which the experimental situations employed to test someone's character trait are inadequate to the task. First, they do not take account of the subject's own construal of the situation. Second, they include behaviour that is only marginally relevant to the trait in question. Third, they disregard the normative character of the responses in which virtue theory is interested. Given these inadequacies in situationism's operationalized conception of a ‘character trait’, I argue that situationism does not really address the proposition that people have ‘character traits’, properly understood. A fortiori, the social psychological evidence does not refute that proposition. I also adduce some limited experimental evidence in favour of character traits and distil two lessons we can nevertheless learn from situationism. (shrink)