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David Spurrett [36]David Jon Spurrett [3]
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Profile: David Spurrett (University of KwaZulu-Natal)
  1. David Spurrett & David Papineau (1999). A Note on the Completeness of "Physics". Analysis 59 (1):25-29.
  2. Don Ross & David Spurrett (2007). Notions of Cause: Russell's Thesis Revisited. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 58 (1):45-76.
    We discuss Russell's 1913 essay arguing for the irrelevance of the idea of causation to science and its elimination from metaphysics as a precursor to contemporary philosophical naturalism. We show how Russell's application raises issues now receiving much attention in debates about the adequacy of such naturalism, in particular, problems related to the relationship between folk and scientific conceptual influences on metaphysics, and to the unification of a scientifically inspired worldview. In showing how to recover an approximation to Russell's conclusion (...)
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  3. Don Ross & David Spurrett (2004). What to Say to a Skeptical Metaphysician? A Defense Manual for Cognitive and Behavioral Scientists. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (5):603-627.
    A wave of recent work in metaphysics seeks to undermine the anti-reductionist, functionalist consensus of the past few decades in cognitive science and philosophy of mind. That consensus apparently legitimated a focus on what systems do, without necessarily and always requiring attention to the details of how systems are constituted. The new metaphysical challenge contends that many states and processes referred to by functionalist cognitive scientists are epiphenomenal. It further contends that the problem lies in functionalism itself, and that, to (...)
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  4.  10
    David Spurrett (forthcoming). Physicalism as an Empirical Hypothesis. Synthese:1-14.
    Bas van Fraassen claims that materialism involves false consciousness. The thesis that matter is all that there is, he says, fails to rule out any kinds of theories. The false consciousness consists in taking materialism to be cognitive rather than an existential stance, or attitude, of deference to the current content of science in matters of ontology, and a favourable attitude to completeness claims about the content of science at a time. The main argument Van Fraassen provides for saying that (...)
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  5. David Spurrett (2001). Cartwright on Laws and Composition. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 15 (3):253 – 268.
    Cartwright attempts to argue from an analysis of the composition of forces, and more generally the composition of laws, to the conclusion that laws must be regarded as false. A response to Cartwright is developed which contends that properly understood composition poses no threat to the truth of laws, even though agreeing with Cartwright that laws do not satisfy the "facticity" requirement. My analysis draws especially on the work of Creary, Bhaskar, Mill, and points towards a general rejection of Cartwright's (...)
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  6.  6
    David Spurrett, Don Ross, Harold Kincaid & Lynn Stephens (eds.) (2007). Distributed Cognition and the Will: Individual Volition and Social Context. MIT Press.
    Philosophers and behavioral scientists discuss what, if anything, of the traditionalconcept of individual conscious will can survive recent scientific discoveries that humandecision-making is distributed across different brain processes and ...
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  7.  51
    Don Ross, Harold Kincaid & David Spurrett (eds.) (2010). What Is Addiction? The MIT Press.
    Leading addiction researchers survey the latest findings in addiction science, countering the simplistic cultural stereotypes of the addict.
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  8.  17
    David Spurrett (2014). Philosophers Should Be Interested in ‘Common Currency’ Claims in the Cognitive and Behavioural Sciences. South African Journal of Philosophy 33 (2):211-221.
    A recurring claim in a number of behavioural, cognitive and neuro-scientific literatures is that there is, or must be, a unidimensional ‘common currency’ in which the values of different available options are represented. There is striking variety in the quantities or properties that have been proposed as determinants of the ordering in motivational strength. Among those seriously suggested are pain and pleasure, biological fitness, reward and reinforcement, and utility among economists, who have regimented the notion of utility in a variety (...)
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  9. David Jon Spurrett (1999). Fundamental Laws and the Completeness of Physics. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 13 (3):261 – 274.
    The status of fundamental laws is an important issue when deciding between the three broad ontological options of fundamentalism (of which the thesis that physics is complete is typically a sub-type), emergentism, and disorder or promiscuous realism. Cartwright’s assault on fundamental laws which argues that such laws do not, and cannot, typically state the facts, and hence cannot be used to support belief in a fundamental ontological order, is discussed in this context. A case is made in defence of a (...)
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  10.  2
    David Spurrett (2016). Does Intragenomic Conflict Predict Intrapersonal Conflict? Biology and Philosophy 31 (3):313-333.
    Parts of the genome of a single individual can have conflicting interests, depending on which parent they were inherited from. One mechanism by which these conflicts are expressed in some taxa, including mammals, is genomic imprinting, which modulates the level of expression of some genes depending on their parent of origin. Imprinted gene expression is known to affect body size, brain size, and the relative development of various tissues in mammals. A high fraction of imprinted gene expression occurs in the (...)
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  11. Don Ross, James Ladyman & David Spurrett (2007). In Defence of Scientism. In James Ladyman (ed.), Every Thing Must Go: Metaphysics Naturalized. Oxford University Press
  12.  5
    David Spurrett (2005). Bhaskar on Open and Closed Systems. South African Journal of Philosophy 19 (3):188-209.
    Bhaskar's articulation of his ‘transcendental realism' includes an argument for a form of causal emergence which would mean the rejection of physicalism, by means of rejecting the causal closure of the physical. His argument is based on an analysis of the conditions for closure, where closed systems manifest regular or Humean relations between events. Bhaskar argues that the project of seeking closure entails commitment to a strong (and implausible) reductionism, which in turn entails the impossibility of science itself, and concludes (...)
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  13.  71
    David Spurrett, The Completeness of Physics.
    The present work is focussed on the completeness of physics, or what is here called the Completeness Thesis: the claim that the domain of the physical is causally closed. Two major questions are tackled: How best is the Completeness Thesis to be formulated? What can be said in defence of the Completeness Thesis? My principal conclusions are that the Completeness Thesis can be coherently formulated, and that the evidence in favour if it significantly outweighs that against it. In opposition to (...)
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  14.  13
    Don Ross, David Spurrett, Harold Kincaid & G. Lynn Stephens (eds.) (2007). Distributed Cognition and the Will: Individual Volition and Social Context. MIT Press.
    Philosophers and behavioral scientists discuss what, if anything, of the traditional concept of individual conscious will can survive recent scientific ...
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  15. David Spurrett & Stephen Cowley (2010). The Extended Infant: Utterance Activity and Distributed Cognition. In Richard Menary (ed.), The Extended Mind. MIT Press
  16.  35
    David Spurrett (2001). What Physical Properties Are. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 82 (2):201-225.
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  17.  12
    David Spurrett (2014). A Map of Where? Problems with the “Transparency” Dimension. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 37 (1):100-101.
  18.  12
    David Spurrett (2006). Reductionisms and Physicalisms. South African Journal of Philosophy 25 (2):159-170.
    Causal exclusion arguments, especially as championed by Kim, have recently made life uncomfortable for would-be non-reductive physicalists. Non-reductive physicalism was itself, in turn, partly a response to earlier arguments against reductionism. The philosophy of science, though, distinguishes more forms of reduction than philosophy of mind generally cares to. In this paper I review four major families of reductionist thesis, and give reasons for keeping them more carefully separate than usual. South African Journal of Philosophy Vol. 25(2) 2006: 159-171.
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  19.  31
    David Spurrett (2012). Empiricism: Reloaded. [REVIEW] Metascience 21 (2):351-354.
    Empiricism: reloaded Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 1-4 DOI 10.1007/s11016-012-9652-7 Authors David Spurrett, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Howard College Campus, Durban, 4041 South Africa Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
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  20.  39
    Don Ross & David Spurrett (2004). The Cognitive and Behavioral Sciences: Real Patterns, Real Unity, Real Causes, but No-Supervenience - Response. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (5):637-647.
    Our response amplifies our case for scientific realism and the unity of science and clarifies our commitments to scientific unity, nonreductionism, behaviorism, and our rejection of talk of “emergence.” We acknowledge support from commentators for our view of physics and, responding to pressure and suggestions from commentators, deny the generality supervenience and explain what this involves. We close by reflecting on the relationship between philosophy and science.
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  21.  9
    Michael Meadon & David Spurrett (2010). It's Not Just the Subjects–There Are Too Many WEIRD Researchers. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (2-3):104-105.
    A literature in which most data are outliers is flawed, and the target article sounds a timely alarm call for the behavioural sciences. It also suggests remedies. We mostly concur, except for arguing that the importance of the fact that the researchers themselves are mostly outliers has been underplayed. Improving matters requires non-Western researchers, as well as research subjects.
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  22.  21
    David Spurrett (2011). Jack Ritchie,Understanding Naturalism(Acumen, 2008). Philosophical Papers 40 (3):439-445.
    Philosophical Papers, Volume 40, Issue 3, Page 439-445, November 2011.
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  23.  8
    David Spurrett & Jeffrey Martin (2010). “Very Like a Whale”: Analogies About the Mind Need Salient Similarity to Convey Information. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (4):350-351.
    Knobe relies on unhelpful analogies in stating his main thesis about the mind. It isn't clear what saying the mind works, or doesn't work, or means. We suggest he should say that some think that human cognition respects a ban on fallacies of relevance, where considerations actually irrelevant to truth are taken as evidence. His research shows that no such ban is respected.
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  24.  8
    Deane-Peter Baker, Simon Beck & David Spurrett (2006). Editorial: New Developments at the SAJP. South African Journal of Philosophy 25 (2):89-90.
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  25.  5
    David Spurrett (2014). Cui Bono? Selfish Goals Need to Pay Their Way. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 37 (2):155-156.
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  26.  27
    David Spurrett (2003). What About Embodiment? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 26 (5):620-620.
    I present reasons for adding an embodiment criterion to the list defended by Anderson & Lebiere (A&L). I also entertain a likely objection contending that embodiment is merely a type of dynamic behavior and is therefore covered by the target article. In either case, it turns out that neither connectionism nor ACT-R do particularly well when it comes to embodiment.
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  27.  7
    Andrew Dellis & David Spurrett (2013). An Eye for an Eye: Reciprocity and the Calibration of Redress. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 36 (1):20 - 20.
    General systems for reciprocity explain the same phenomena as the target article's proposed revenge system, and can explain other cooperative phenomena. We need more reason to hypothesise a specific revenge system. In addition, the proposed calculus of revenge is less sensitive to absolute magnitudes of revenge than it should be.
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  28.  5
    David Spurrett (2011). Reason is Normative, and Should Be Studied Accordingly. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 34 (5):267-268.
    Reason aims at truth, so normative considerations are a proper part of the study of reasoning. Excluding them means neglecting some of what we know or can discover about reasoning. Also, the normativist position we are asked to reject by Elqayam & Evans (E&E) is defined in attenuated and self-contradictory ways.
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  29.  20
    David Spurrett & Don Ross, Three Ways of Worrying About 'Causation'.
    Our point of departure is Russell’s (1913) argument for the ‘complete extrusion’ of the word ‘cause’ from the philosophical vocabulary. We argue that at least three different types of philosophical project concerning ‘cause’ should be carefully distinguished, and that failures to distinguish them lie at the root of some apparently recalcitrant problems. We call them the ‘cognitive’, the ‘scientific’ and the ‘metaphysical’.
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  30.  17
    David Spurrett (2002). Information Processing and Dynamical Systems Approaches Are Complementary. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25 (5):639-640.
    Shanker & King (S&K) trumpet the adoption of a “new paradigm” in communication studies, exemplified by ape language research. Though cautiously sympathetic, I maintain that their argument relies on a false dichotomy between “information” and “dynamical systems” theory, and that the resulting confusion prevents them from recognizing the main chance their line of thinking suggests.
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  31.  17
    Don Ross & David Spurrett (2005). Behavioral (Pico)Economics and the Brain Sciences. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28 (5):659-660.
    Supporters of Ainslie's model face questions about its integration with neuroscience. Although processes of value estimation may well turn out to be locally implemented, methodological reasons suggest this is less likely in the case of subpersonal “interests.”.
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  32.  14
    David Spurrett & Andrew Dellis (2004). Putting Infants in Their Place. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (4):524-525.
    The interests of mother and infants do not exactly coincide. Further, infants are not merely objects of attempted control by mothers, but the sources of attempts to control what mothers do. Taking account of the ways in which this is so suggests an enriched perspective on mother-infant interaction and on the beginnings of conventionalized signaling.
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  33.  13
    Don Ross & David Spurrett (2006). Evolutionary Psychology and Functionally Empty Metaphors. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (2):192-193.
    Lea & Webley's (L&W's) non-exclusive distinction between tool-like and drug-like motivators is insufficiently discriminating to say much about money that is useful, as the distinction's equivocal application to sex, food, and drugs shows. Further, it appears as though the motivations of problem gamblers are non-metaphorically like those of drug addicts. (Published Online April 5 2006).
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  34. David Spurrett, Jacques Rousseau & Don Ross, Reward Discounting and Severity of Disordered Gambling in a South African Population.
    People differ in the extent to which they discount the values of future rewards. Behavioural economists measure these differences in terms of functions that describe rates of reduced valuation in the future – temporal discounting – as these vary with time. They measure differences in preference for risk – differing rates of probability discounting – in terms of similar functions that describe reduced valuation of rewards as the probability of their delivery falls. So-called ‘impulsive’ people, including people disposed to addiction, (...)
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  35. Don Ross, James Ladyman & David Spurrett (2007). Causation in a Structural World. In James Ladyman (ed.), Every Thing Must Go: Metaphysics Naturalized. Oxford University Press
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  36. Don Ross, David Spurrett, Harold Kincaid & G. Lynn Stephens (eds.) (2007). Distributed Cognition and the Will: Individual Volition and Social Context. A Bradford Book.
    Recent scientific findings about human decision making would seem to threaten the traditional concept of the individual conscious will. The will is threatened from "below" by the discovery that our apparently spontaneous actions are actually controlled and initiated from below the level of our conscious awareness, and from "above" by the recognition that we adapt our actions according to social dynamics of which we are seldom aware. In Distributed Cognition and the Will, leading philosophers and behavioral scientists consider how much, (...)
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  37. David Spurrett (2008). Why I Am Not an Analytic Philosopher. South African Journal of Philosophy 27 (2):153-163.
    From a certain simplistic and inaccurate, although regrettably popular, perspective philosophy, at least for the past few decades, is available only in two main flavours – analytic and continental. Some self-identified members of both camps are apt to endorse uncharitable caricatures of what the others are up to. Among the many lines of criticism that can be directed against this false dichotomy, I wish to focus on discussion of a broadly naturalistic orientation that rejects many of the commitments both of (...)
     
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