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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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.
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)
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)
Simulation theory explains third-person mental state attribution in terms of an attributor's ability to imaginatively mimic other people's mental processes. Jane Heal's version of simulation theory, which she calls a theory of ?co-cognition,? maintains that one can know and can predict others? beliefs primarily by thinking about what their antecedent beliefs imply. I argue that Heal's account of belief attribution elides crucial differences between reasoning and merely discovering relations among propositions.
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)
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 ‘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 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)
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)
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)
According to both the traditional model of folk psychology and the social intelligence hypothesis, our folk psychological notions of belief and desire developed in order to make better predictions of behavior, and the fundamental role for our folk psychological notions of belief and desire are for making more accurate predictions of behavior (than predictions made without appeal to folk psychological notions). My strategy in this paper is to show that these claims are false. I argue that we need not appeal (...) to mental states to make predictions of many behaviors, and I will offer a positive account of how we might go about predicting intentional behavior. Finally, I suggest that taken together, the critique of traditional folk psychology along with the alternative account of our predictive practices leads to a new hypothesis. While it may be true that mental state concepts developed in response to social-environmental pressures, I suggest that this pressure was more likely the need to explain behavior, rather than the need to predict it. (shrink)
A prospective introduction -- The received view -- Troubles with the received view -- Are propositional attitudes relations? -- Foundations of a measurement-theoretic account of the attitudes -- The basic measurement-theoretic account -- Elaboration and explication of the proposed measurement-theoretic account.
The demise of behaviorism has made ethologists more willing to ascribe mental states to animals. However, a methodology that can avoid the charge of excessive anthropomorphism is needed. We describe a series of experiments that could help determine whether the behavior of nonhuman animals towards dead conspecifics is concept mediated. These experiments form the basis of a general point. The behavior of some animals is clearly guided by complex mental processes. The techniques developed by comparative psychologists and behavioral ecologists are (...) able to provide us with the tools to critically evaluate hypotheses concerning the continuity between human minds and animal minds. (shrink)
Philosophers often discuss altruism, how it is to be understood, explained, justified, evaluated, etc. Few refer to any experimental data on helping behaviour. I will argue that some of these data seem at least initially to present a challenge to various philosophical accounts of altruism. Put very broadly, when one looks at various philosophical accounts of altruism in light of various data on helping behaviour, one might wonder whether many philosophical accounts fall prey to the 'fundamental attribution error', overestimating (...) people's character and personal dispositions as the basis of their actions and underestimating the role of persons' situations and their construals of them in determining what they do. (shrink)
One might take the significance of Davidson’s indeterminacy thesis to be that the question as to which language we can take another to be speaking can only be settled relative to our choice of an acceptable theory for interpreting the speaker. This, in turn, could be taken to show that none of us is ever speaking a determinate language. I argue that this result is self-defeating and cannot avoid collapse into a troubling skepticism about meaning. I then offer a way (...) of trying to make sense of the idea that some utterances do belong to determinate languages even though there is no determinate language one can take another to be speaking. This, however, results in an uninviting picture of communication in which no speaker is really in a position to say what another’s words mean. (shrink)
Plato’s Socrates famously claims that we want (bou9lesqai) the good, rather than what we think good (Gorgias 468bd). My paper seeks to answer some basic questions about this well-known but little-understood claim: what does the claim mean, and what is its philosophical motivation and significance? How does the claim relate to Socrates’ claim that we desire (e7piqumei=n)1 things that we think are good, which..
In two experiments, we demonstrate that intentional action intuitions vary as a function of whether one brings about or observes an event. In experiment 1a (N?=?38), participants were less likely to judge that they intended (M?=?2.53, 7 point scale) or intentionally (M?=?2.67) brought about a harmful event compared to intention (M?=?4.16) and intentionality (M?=?4.11) judgments made about somebody else. Experiments 1b and 1c confirmed and extended this pattern of actor-observer differences. Experiment 2 suggested that these actor-observer differences are not likely (...) to occur when participants are asked to ?imagine? being an actor. We argue that these results challenge the substantial philosophical and empirical reliance on hypothetical thought examples about intentional action. Our data offer new and necessary methodological avenues for understanding folk intentional action intuitions. (shrink)
Plusieurs auteurs se sont inspirés des thèses du deuxième Wittgenstein pour proposer une nouvelle approche en sciences sociales qui viserait la justification plutôt que l'explication de l'action. Sur la base d'une étude de trois types d'énoncés formulés grâce au langage de l'action (factuels, normatifs et attributifs d'états mentaux), cet article évalue les difficultés et possibilités d'une telle suggestion.
ERPs (event-related potentials) correlates are largely used in cognitive psychology and specifically for analysis of semantic information processing. Previous research has underlined a strong correlation between a negative-ongoing wave (N400), more frontally distributed, and semantic linguistic or extra-linguistic anomalies. With reference to the extra-linguistic domain, our experiment analyzed ERP variation in a semantic task of comprehension of emotional facial expressions. The experiment explored the effect of expectancy violation when subjects observed congruous or incongruous emotional facial patterns. Four prototypical (anger, sadness, (...) happiness and surprise) and four morphed faces were presented. Moreover, two distinct cognitive tasks (an implicit vs an explicit elaboration) were analyzed in order to evaluate the influence of spontaneous decoding in N400-like effects. An automatic, high-order cognitive process was found, elicited by a negative ERP variation similar to the linguistic N400 effect, which allows us to explain the congruous/incongruous decoding in semantic extra-linguistic comprehension. (shrink)
The article urges a negative answer to the question if values merely lie ââin the eyes of the beholderââ. It argues the objectivity of values via their status as tertiary properties that are neither on dispositionally inherent in their objects nor yet affective (dispositionally evoked in the interaction between objects and senseâobservers), but rather reflective in being dispositionally evoked in suitably competent minds considering the matters involved.
Psychological Metaphysics is an exploration of the most basic and important assumptions in the psychological construction of reality, with the aim of showing what they are, how they originate, and what they are there for. Peter White proposes that people basically understand causation in terms of stable, special powers of things operating to produce effects under suitable conditions. This underpins an analysis of people's understanding of causal processes in the physical world, and of human action. In making a radical break (...) with the Heiderian tradition, Psychological Metaphysics suggests that causal attribution is in the service of the person's practical concerns and any interest in accuracy or understanding is subservient to this. Indeed, a notion of regularity in the world is of no more than minor importance, and social cognition is not a matter of cognitive mechanisms or processes but of cultural ways of thinking imposed upon tacit, unquestioned, universalassumptions. Incorporating not only research and theory in social cognition and developmental psychology, but also philosophy and the history of ideas, Psychological Metaphysics will be challenging to everyone interested in how we try to understand the world. (shrink)
Two variables are usually recognised as determinants of human causal learning: the contingency between a candidate cause and effect, and the temporal and/or spatial contiguity between them. A common finding is that reductions in temporal contiguity produce concomitant decrements in causal judgement. This finding had previously (Shanks & Dickinson, 1987) been interpreted as evidence that causal induction is based on associative learning processes. Buehner and May (2002, 2003, 2004) have challenged this notion by demonstrating that the impact of temporal delay (...) depends on expectations about the timeframe between cause and effect. A corollary of this knowledge-mediation account is that in certain situations longer delays could facilitate, while shorter delays should impair, causal learning. Here we present two experiments involving a physical apparatus that demonstrate a detrimental effect of contiguity under certain conditions. In contrast to all previous studies, delays universally promoted causal learning. This evidence is clearly at variance with the notion of a bottom-up contiguity bias in causal induction. A new, more general timeframe bias is discussed. (shrink)
Je propose ici une hypothèse radicale, mais fragile: le commentaire sur l’Apocalypse désigné par son incipit Vox Domini, qui a été édité1 dans les Opera omnia de Thomas d’Aquin, avant d’être rejeté du corpus authentique, serait l’œuvre de Bonaventure. Je ne peux présenter aucune preuve absolue, mais un ensemble de probabilités ou de convergences. L’enjeu est de taille pour trois raisons: cette œuvre longue (environ 200.000 mots) a forcément occupé longuement Bonaventure et l’histoire de sa carrière doit être revue. Ensuite, (...) le commentaire permet d’avoir une vue plus claire des rapports de Bonaventure avec l’eschatologie de son temps. Enfin, l’indifférence sidérante des historiens aux contenus de Vox .. (shrink)
The ethical conduct of research is central to the integrity of universities, where research and graduate education are inseparable.In the medical sciences, those who first describe a new feature, whether it's an anatomical structure, clinical sign or symptom, disease, physiological entity, or surgical procedure, often have their discoveries named after them. The insider knows what is meant by such eponymous, abstract designations as Padget's disease, the circle of Willis, Pavlov's dog, Asperger's syndrome, or the Papanicoulaou test. This kind of acknowledgment (...) is not just restricted to medicine, it also applies to other fields of science and technology, where terms like the Heisenberg uncertainty principle .. (shrink)
Recent findings in experimental philosophy have revealed that people attribute intentionality, belief, desire, knowledge, and blame asymmetrically to side- effects depending on whether the agent who produces the side-effect violates or adheres to a norm. Although the original (and still common) test for this effect involved a chairman helping or harming the environment, hardly any of these findings have been applied to business ethics. We review what little exploration of the implications for business ethics has been done. Then, we present (...) new experimental results that expand the attribution asymmetry to virtue and vice. We also examine whether it matters to people that an effect was produced as a primary or side- effect, as well as how consumer habits might be affected by this phenomenon. These results lead to the conclusion that it appears to be in a businessperson’s self-interest to be virtuous. (shrink)
Intuitively, there is a difference between knowledge and mere belief. Contemporary philosophical work on the nature of this difference has focused on scenarios known as “Gettier cases.” Designed as counterexamples to the classical theory that knowledge is justified true belief, these cases feature agents who arrive at true beliefs in ways which seem reasonable or justified, while nevertheless seeming to lack knowledge. Prior empirical investigation of these cases has raised questions about whether lay people generally share philosophers’ intuitions about these (...) cases, or whether lay intuitions vary depending on individual factors (e.g. ethnicity) or factors related to specific types of Gettier cases (e.g. cases that include apparent evidence). We report an experiment on lay attributions of knowledge and justification for a wide range of Gettier Cases and for a related class of controversial cases known as Skeptical Pressure cases, which are also thought by philosophers to elicit intuitive denials of knowledge. Although participants rated true beliefs in Gettier and Skeptical Pressure cases as being justified, they were significantly less likely to attribute knowledge for these cases than for matched true belief cases. This pattern of response was consistent across different variations of Gettier cases and did not vary by ethnicity or gender, although attributions of justification were found to be positively related to measures of empathy. These findings therefore suggest that across demographic groups, laypeople share similar epistemic concepts with philosophers, recognizing a difference between knowledge and justified true belief. (shrink)
Jill de Villiers has argued that children's mastery of sentential complements plays a crucial role in enabling them to succeed at false-belief tasks. Josef Perner has disputed that and has argued that mastery of false-belief tasks requires an understanding of the multiplicity of perspectives. This paper attempts to resolve the debate by explicating attributions of desires and beliefs as extensions of the linguistic practices of making commands and assertions, respectively. In terms of these linguistic practices one can explain why desire-talk (...) will precede belief-talk and why even older children will have difficulty attributing incompatible desires. (shrink)
How does the mind attribute external causes to internal sensory experiences? Adam Smith addresses this question in his little known essay ‘Of the External Senses.’ I closely examine Smith's various formulations of this problem and then argue for an interpretation of his solution: that inborn perceptual mechanisms automatically generate external attributions of internal experiences. I conclude by speculating that these mechanisms are best understood to operate by simulating tactile environments.
Focusing on God's essential attributes of omnipotence, omniscience, being eternal and omnipresent, being a creator and sustainer, and being a person, I examine how far recent discussion has been able to provide for each of these divine attributes a consistent interpretation. I also consider briefly whether the attributes are compatible with each other.
The basic idea of conversational contextualism is that knowledge attributions are context sensitive in that a given knowledge attribution may be true if made in one context but false if made in another, owing to differences in the attributors’ conversational contexts. Moreover, the context sensitivity involved is traced back to the context sensitivity of the word “know,” which, in turn, is commonly modelled on the case either of genuine indexicals such as “I” or “here” or of comparative adjectives such (...) as “tall” or “rich.” But contextualism faces various problems. I argue that in order to solve these problems we need to look for another account of the context sensitivity involved in knowledge attributions and I sketch an alternative proposal. (shrink)
The paper is concerned with the semantics of knowledge attributions(K-claims, for short) and proposes a position holding that K-claims are contextsensitive that differs from extant views on the market. First I lay down the data a semantic theory for K-claims needs to explain. Next I present and assess three views purporting to give the semantics for K-claims: contextualism, subject-sensitive invariantism and relativism. All three views are found wanting with respect to their accounting for the data. I then propose a hybrid (...) view according to which the relevant epistemic standards for evaluating K-claims are neither those at the context of the subject (subject-sensitive invariantism), nor those at the context of the assessor (relativism), but it is itself an open matter. However, given that we need a principled way of deciding which epistemic standards are the relevant ones, I provide a principle according to which the relevant standards are those that are the highest between those at the context of the subject and those at the context of the assessor/attributor. In the end I consider some objections to the view and offer some answers. (shrink)
Abstract: In this article, the logic and functions of character-trait ascriptions in ethics and epistemology is compared, and two major problems, the "generality problem" for virtue epistemologies and the "global trait problem" for virtue ethics, are shown to be far more similar in structure than is commonly acknowledged. I suggest a way to put the generality problem to work by making full and explicit use of a sliding scale--a "narrow-broad spectrum of trait ascription"-- and by accounting for the various uses (...) of it in an inquiry-pragmatist account. In virtue theories informed by inquiry pragmatism, the agential habits and abilities deemed salient in explanations/evaluations of agents in particular cases, and the determination of what relevant domains and conditions an agent's habit or ability is reliably efficacious in, is determined by pragmatic concerns related to our evaluative epistemic practices. (shrink)