Knowledge of one's own states of mind is one of the varieties of self-knowledge. Do any nonhuman animals have the capacity for this variety of self-knowledge? The question is open to empirical inquiry, which is most often conducted with primate subjects. Research with a bottlenose dolphin gives some evidence for the capacity in a nonprimate taxon. I describe the research and evaluate the metacognitive interpretation of the dolphin's behaviour. The research exhibits some of the difficulties attached to the task of (...) eliciting behaviour that both attracts a higher-order interpretation while also resisting deflationary, lower-order interpretations. Lloyd Morgan's Canon, which prohibits inflationary interpretations of animal behaviour, has influenced many animal psychologists. There is one defensible version of the Canon, the version that warns specifically against unnecessary intentional ascent. The Canon on this interpretation seems at first to tell against a metacognitive interpretation of the data collected in the dolphin study. However, the model of metacognition that is in play in the dolphin studies is a functional model, one that does not implicate intentional ascent. I explore some interpretations of the dolphin's behaviour as metacognitive, in this sense. While this species of metacognitive interpretation breaks the connection with the more familiar theory of mind research using animal subjects, the interpretation also points in an interesting way towards issues concerning consciousness in dolphins. (shrink)
Jerry Fodor divides the mind into peripheral, domain-specific modules and a domaingeneral faculty of central cognition. John Tooby and Lisa Cosmides argue instead that the mind is modular all the way through; cognition consists of a multitude of domain-specific processes. But human thought has a flexible, innovative character that contrasts with the inflexible, stereotyped performances of modular systems. My goal is to discover how minds that are constructed on modular principles might come to exhibit cognitive versatility.Cognitive versatility is exhibited in (...) the ability to learn from experience. How can this ability emerge from the resources made available by earlier stages of cognitive specialization without sacrificing the many benefits of modularization? A transition into versatile cognition occurred in the history of our species. A similar development which occurs within individual ontogeny provides clues about the phylogenetic changes. (shrink)
In this article, we focus on the concept of leadership ethics and make observations about transformational, transactional and servant leadership. We consider differences in how each definition of leadership outlines what the leader is supposed to achieve, and how the leader treats people in the organization while striving to achieve the organization's goals. We also consider which leadership styles are likely to be more popular in organizations that strive to maximize short run profits. Our paper does not tout or degrade (...) any of these leadership theories. Instead, it points out which theories allow reason to play more than a minimal role in ethical decision-making, as well as those that are most consistent with a firm's desire to achieve efficiency in the short run. We explain our view that the way leadership is practiced in large, bureaucratic organizations suggests that ethics is often absent from the leader's decision-making process. Consequently, we suggest that before we engage in a meaningful dialogue about what kind of leaders we might really want in business, we must consider how much short-run profit we are willing to forego in exchange for more ethical corporate cultures. (shrink)
This paper assesses the extent to which the category of hope assists in preserving and redefining the vestiges of utopian thought in critical social theory. Hope has never had a systematic position among the categories of critical social theory, although it has sometimes acquired considerable prominence. It will be argued that the current philosophical and everyday interest in social hope can be traced to the limited capacity of liberal conceptions of freedom to articulate a vision of social transformation apposite to (...) contemporary suffering and indignity. The background to these experiences is the structural changes associated with the injustices of globalisation, the mobilisation of the capitalist imaginary and the uncertainties of the risk society. The category of hope could assist in sustaining the utopianism of critical theory through conjoining normative principles with a temporal orientation. Yet, the paradoxes of the current phase of capitalist modernisation have further denuded notions of progress. Since the theological background to the category of hope constitutes a major limitation, the utopian orientation of critique is clarified in relation to the antinomies of the turn to social hope and the potential of Habermas' discourse theory of democracy, law and morality. Despite Castoriadis' profound critique of the category of hope, its present usage in social analyses will be seen to have affinities with Honneth's conception of the struggle for recognition. (shrink)
The boundaries of honesty are the focal point of this exploration of the individualistic origins of modernist ethics and the consequent need for a more pragmatic approach to business ethics. The tendency of modernist ethics to see honesty as an individual responsibility is described as a contextually naive approach, one that fails to account for the interactive effects between individual choices and corporate norms. By reviewing the empirical accounts of managerial struggles with ethical dilemmas, the article arrives at the contextual (...) preconditions for encouraging the development of reflective moral agents in modern corporations. (shrink)
Block's (1995) cognitive conception of consciousness might be introduced in the service of two different projects. In one, the explanatory gap between science and folklore remains. In the other, a reductive claim is advanced, but the intuitive idea of consciousness is abandoned.
Metacognitive knowledge of one's own cognitive states is not as useful as is often thought. Differences between cognitive states often come down to differences in their intentional contents. For that reason, differences in behaviour are often explained by differences just in contents of first-order states. Uncertainty need not be a metacognitive condition. First-order interpretations of the target experiments are available.
Sex differences in willingness to take physical risks and in concern for peer esteem may be relevant to whether women should serve in combat, since two major fears soldiers experience are of being injured and of not measuring up as warriors. Women's relative aversion to nonphysical risk may have workplace implications, since risk taking is an attribute of most successful executives.
There are two kinds of useful traits: adaptations, and all the others. Exaptations are just all the others. Exaptations are not for anything. Because there is such diversity in all the others, exaptation is not an explanatory concept. Its only real use is to block adaptationist excesses.
Focusing on the debate between resource egalitarians and capability theorists, with particular attention to gender equality, this article rejects the prevailing assumption that the capability approach to equality, as outlined by Amartya Sen, is better able to respond to important empirically identifiable inequalities than its resource egalitarian alternative, as developed by Ronald Dworkin. Developing and expanding upon the often overlooked Dworkinian principle of independence, the article contends that resource egalitarianism is capable of identifying and responding to a complex set of (...) structural inequalities that remain outside the purview of the capability approach. Key Words: capability approach Dworkin egalitarianism equality gender inequalities Sen. (shrink)
Cultural safety is a relatively new concept that has emerged in the New Zealand nursing context and is being taken up in various ways in Canadian health care discourses. Our research team has been exploring the relevance of cultural safety in the Canadian context, most recently in relation to a knowledge-translation study conducted with nurses practising in a large tertiary hospital. We were drawn to using cultural safety because we conceptualized it as being compatible with critical theoretical perspectives that foster (...) a focus on power imbalances and inequitable social relationships in health care; the interrelated problems of culturalism and racialization; and a commitment to social justice as central to the social mandate of nursing. Engaging in this knowledge-translation study has provided new perspectives on the complexities, ambiguities and tensions that need to be considered when using the concept of cultural safety to draw attention to racialization, culturalism, and health and health care inequities. The philosophic analysis discussed in this paper represents an epistemological grounding for the concept of cultural safety that links directly to particular moral ends with social justice implications. Although cultural safety is a concept that we have firmly positioned within the paradigm of critical inquiry, ambiguities associated with the notions of 'culture', 'safety', and 'cultural safety' need to be anticipated and addressed if they are to be effectively used to draw attention to critical social justice issues in practice settings. Using cultural safety in practice settings to draw attention to and prompt critical reflection on politicized knowledge, therefore, brings an added layer of complexity. To address these complexities, we propose that what may be required to effectively use cultural safety in the knowledge-translation process is a 'social justice curriculum for practice' that would foster a philosophical stance of critical inquiry at both the individual and institutional levels. (shrink)
Knowledge translation has been widely taken up as an innovative process to facilitate the uptake of research-derived knowledge into health care services. Drawing on a recent research project, we engage in a philosophic examination of how knowledge translation might serve as vehicle for the transfer of critically oriented knowledge regarding social justice, health inequities, and cultural safety into clinical practice. Through an explication of what might be considered disparate traditions (those of critical inquiry and knowledge translation), we identify compatibilities (...) and discrepancies both within the critical tradition, and between critical inquiry and knowledge translation. The ontological and epistemological origins of the knowledge to be translated carry implications for the synthesis and translation phases of knowledge translation. In our case, the studies we synthesized were informed by various critical perspectives and hence we needed to reconcile differences that exist within the critical tradition. A review of the history of critical inquiry served to articulate the nature of these differences while identifying common purposes around which to strategically coalesce. Other challenges arise when knowledge translation and critical inquiry are brought together. Critique is one of the hallmark methods of critical inquiry and, yet, the engagement required for knowledge translation between researchers and health care administrators, practitioners, and other stakeholders makes an antagonistic stance of critique problematic. While knowledge translation offers expanded views of evidence and the complex processes of knowledge exchange, we have been alerted to the continual pull toward epistemologies and methods reminiscent of the positivist paradigm by their instrumental views of knowledge and assumptions of objectivity and political neutrality. These types of tensions have been productive for us as a research team in prompting a critical reconceptualization of knowledge translation. (shrink)
I argue that (1) whether abortions are morally permissible depends on whether the fetus has a right to life, (2) the only point of disagreement between the possible theories on this question--the Extreme Conservative, the Middle, and the Extreme Liberal--concerns the relevant temporal proximity to, or degree of probability of actualizing, some selected potential, (3) there is in principle no non-arbitrary way of resolving this disagreement, and hence the problem of abortion is a pseudo-problem inasmuch as it is not theoretically (...) capable of being solved, and (4) legislators should, in the light of this, act as if the Extreme Liberal Theory were true. (shrink)
After having achieved some level of competency in their critical thinking classes, students are often frustrated by the effects of their use of critical thinking with their friends and family. This threat to their long-standing relationships and social comfort should be addressed in our pedagogy if we are to enable critical thinking to realize its potential for effective communication. Explicit attention to the emotional component of critical thinking exchanges is a possible step towards alleviating the negative tensions that would otherwise (...) result from the socially clumsy deployment of critical thinking. This paper offers suggestive evidence of relational frustration experienced by freshman critical thinking students and provides practical suggestions whereby criticaI thinking can nurture, rather than jeopardize social networks. (shrink)
Susan Faludi's Backlash, first published in 1991, offers a compelling account of feminism being forced to repeat itself in an era hostile to its transformative potentials and ambitions. Twenty years on, this paper offers a philosophical reading of Faludi's text, unpacking the model of social and historical change that underlies the “backlash” thesis. It focuses specifically on the tension between Faludi's ideal model of social change as a movement of linear, step-by-step, continuous progress, and her depiction of feminist history in (...) terms of endless repetition. If we uphold a linear, teleological ideal of social change, I argue, repetition can only be thought of in negative terms—as a step backwards or a waste of time—which in turn has a negative and demoralizing impact within feminism itself. To explore an alternative model of historical time and change, I turn to the work of feminist philosopher Christine Battersby, who rethinks repetition through the Kierkegaardian mode of “recollecting forwards,” and the Nietzschean notion of “untimeliness.” I suggest that Battersby's philosophical reconceptualization of historical repetition, as a potentially creative, productive phenomenon, can be of great utility to feminists as we enact and negotiate the dynamics of backlash politics. (shrink)
Variable binding has long been a challenge to connectionists. Attempts to perform variable binding using localist and distributed connectionist representations are discussed, and problems inherent in each type of representation are outlined.
It is often taken to be intuitively obvious that if one is in a given conscious state, then one knows that one is in that state. This alleged obvious truth lies at the heart of two very different philosophical doctrines fithe Cartesian doctrine that one has incorrigible knowledge about one?s own conscious states (which still has its defenders today), and the view that one can explain all conscious states in terms of higher-order awareness of mental states. The present paper begins (...) with a description of the real-life case of Simon Browne, a man who believed he had no conscious states whatsoever, although all external evidence overwhelmingly suggests that he had. This case as well as other cases of what can be called ?being in denial? figives reason to reject both the alleged intuitively obvious truth and the two philosophical doctrines which attempt to exploit it. Having abandoned these doctrines, it remains to give an account of Browne?s condition, which picks out both why it is possible and why it is so unusual. This is done by arguing that Browne?s belief is contrary to evidence which he absolutely ought to accept, and that this is necessarily, not just contingently, unusual. In addition, it is shown how Browne?s philosophical beliefs about the mind?body relation contributed to his odd belief. (shrink)