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Profile: Edouard Machery (University of Pittsburgh)
  1. Edouard Machery, Ron Mallon, Shaun Nichols & Stephen P. Stich (2004). Semantics, Cross-Cultural Style. Cognition 92 (3):1-12.
    Theories of reference have been central to analytic philosophy, and two views, the descriptivist view of reference and the causal-historical view of reference, have dominated the field. In this research tradition, theories of reference are assessed by consulting one’s intuitions about the reference of terms in hypothetical situations. However, recent work in cultural psychology (e.g., Nisbett et al. 2001) has shown systematic cognitive differences between East Asians and Westerners, and some work indicates that this extends to intuitions about philosophical cases (...)
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  2.  58
    Edouard Machery (2009). Doing Without Concepts. Oxford University Press.
    Over recent years, the psychology of concepts has been rejuvenated by new work on prototypes, inventive ideas on causal cognition, the development of neo-empiricist theories of concepts, and the inputs of the budding neuropsychology of concepts. But our empirical knowledge about concepts has yet to be organized in a coherent framework. -/- In Doing without Concepts, Edouard Machery argues that the dominant psychological theories of concepts fail to provide such a framework and that drastic conceptual changes are required to make (...)
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  3. Ron Mallon, Edouard Machery, Shaun Nichols & Stephen Stich (2009). Against Arguments From Reference. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 79 (2):332 - 356.
    It is common in various quarters of philosophy to derive philosophically significant conclusions from theories of reference. In this paper, we argue that philosophers should give up on such 'arguments from reference.' Intuitions play a central role in establishing theories of reference, and recent cross-cultural work suggests that intuitions about reference vary across cultures and between individuals within a culture (Machery et al. 2004). We argue that accommodating this variation within a theory of reference undermines arguments from reference.
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  4. Edouard Machery (2012). Expertise and Intuitions About Reference. Theoria 27 (1):37-54.
    Many philosophers hold that experts’ semantic intuitions are more reliable and provide better evidence than lay people’s intuitions—a thesis commonly called “the Expertise Defense.” Focusing on the intuitions about the reference of proper names, this article critically assesses the Expertise Defense.
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  5. Justin Sytsma & Edouard Machery (2010). Two Conceptions of Subjective Experience. Philosophical Studies 151 (2):299-327.
    Do philosophers and ordinary people conceive of subjective experience in the same way? In this article, we argue that they do not and that the philosophical concept of phenomenal consciousness does not coincide with the folk conception. We first offer experimental support for the hypothesis that philosophers and ordinary people conceive of subjective experience in markedly different ways. We then explore experimentally the folk conception, proposing that for the folk, subjective experience is closely linked to valence. We conclude by considering (...)
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  6.  58
    Edouard Machery, Stephen Stich, David Rose, Amita Chatterjee, Kaori Karasawa, Noel Struchiner, Smita Sirker, Naoki Usui & Takaaki Hashimoto (2015). Gettier Across Cultures. Noûs 50 (2):n/a-n/a.
    In this article, we present evidence that in four different cultural groups that speak quite different languages there are cases of justified true beliefs that are not judged to be cases of knowledge. We hypothesize that this intuitive judgment, which we call “the Gettier intuition,” may be a reflection of an underlying innate and universal core folk epistemology, and we highlight the philosophical significance of its universality.
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  7. Edouard Machery, Ron Mallon, Shaun Nichols & Stephen P. Stich (2013). If Folk Intuitions Vary, Then What? Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 86 (3):618-635.
    We have recently presented evidence for cross-cultural variation in semantic intuitions and explored the implications of such variation for philosophical arguments that appeal to some theory of reference as a premise. Devitt (2011) and Ichikawa and colleagues (forthcoming) offer critical discussions of the experiment and the conclusions that can be drawn from it. In this response, we reiterate and clarify what we are really arguing for, and we show that most of Devitt’s and Ichikawa and colleagues’ criticisms fail to address (...)
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  8. Edouard Machery (2006). The Folk Concept of Intentional Action: Philosophical and Experimental Issues. Mind and Language 23 (2):165–189.
    Recent experimental fi ndings by Knobe and others ( Knobe, 2003; Nadelhoffer, 2006b; Nichols and Ulatowski, 2007 ) have been at the center of a controversy about the nature of the folk concept of intentional action. I argue that the signifi cance of these fi ndings has been overstated. My discussion is two-pronged. First, I contend that barring a consensual theory of conceptual competence, the signifi cance of these experimental fi ndings for the nature of the concept of intentional action (...)
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  9. Edouard Machery (2011). Thought Experiments and Philosophical Knowledge. Metaphilosophy 42 (3):191-214.
    : While thought experiments play an important role in contemporary analytic philosophy, much remains unclear about thought experiments. In particular, it is still unclear whether the judgments elicited by thought experiments can provide evidence for the premises of philosophical arguments. This article argues that, if an influential and promising view about the nature of the judgments elicited by thought experiments is correct, then many thought experiments in philosophy fail to provide any evidence for the premises of philosophical arguments.
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  10. Edouard Machery (2005). Concepts Are Not a Natural Kind. Philosophy of Science 72 (3):444-467.
    In cognitive psychology, concepts are those data structures that are stored in long-term memory and are used by default in human beings.
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  11. David Danks, David Rose & Edouard Machery (2013). Demoralizing Causation. Philosophical Studies (2):1-27.
    There have recently been a number of strong claims that normative considerations, broadly construed, influence many philosophically important folk concepts and perhaps are even a constitutive component of various cognitive processes. Many such claims have been made about the influence of such factors on our folk notion of causation. In this paper, we argue that the strong claims found in the recent literature on causal cognition are overstated, as they are based on one narrow type of data about a particular (...)
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  12. David Colaco, Wesley Buckwalter, Stephen Stich & Edouard Machery (2014). Epistemic Intuitions in Fake-Barn Thought Experiments. Episteme 11 (2):199-212.
    In epistemology, fake-barn thought experiments are often taken to be intuitively clear cases in which a justified true belief does not qualify as knowledge. We report a study designed to determine whether non-philosophers share this intuition. The data suggest that while participants are less inclined to attribute knowledge in fake-barn cases than in unproblematic cases of knowledge, they nonetheless do attribute knowledge to protagonists in fake-barn cases. Moreover, the intuition that fake-barn cases do count as knowledge is negatively correlated with (...)
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  13. Justin Sytsma & Edouard Machery (2009). How to Study Folk Intuitions About Phenomenal Consciousness. Philosophical Psychology 22 (1):21 – 35.
    The assumption that the concept of phenomenal consciousness is pretheoretical is often found in the philosophical debates on consciousness. Unfortunately, this assumption has not received the kind of empirical attention that it deserves. We suspect that this is in part due to difficulties that arise in attempting to test folk intuitions about consciousness. In this article we elucidate and defend a key methodological principle for this work. We draw this principle out by considering recent experimental work on the topic by (...)
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  14. Edouard Machery (2014). In Defense of Reverse Inference. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (2):251-267.
    Reverse inference is the most commonly used inferential strategy for bringing images of brain activation to bear on psychological hypotheses, but its inductive validity has recently been questioned. In this article, I show that, when it is analyzed in likelihoodist terms, reverse inference does not suffer from the problems highlighted in the recent literature, and I defend the appropriateness of treating reverse inference in these terms. 1 Introduction2 Reverse Inference3 Reverse Inference Defended3.1 Typical reverse inferences are fallacious3.2 No quick and (...)
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  15. Edouard Machery & David Rose (2013). Experimental Philosophy. In Encyclopedia of Mind. Sage
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  16. Edouard Machery (2006). Concept Empiricism: A Methodological Critique. Cognition 104 (1):19-46.
  17. Paul Griffiths, Edouard Machery & Stefan Linquist (2009). The Vernacular Concept of Innateness. Mind and Language 24 (5):605-630.
    The proposal that the concept of innateness expresses a 'folk biological' theory of the 'inner natures' of organisms was tested by examining the response of biologically naive participants to a series of realistic scenarios concerning the development of birdsong. Our results explain the intuitive appeal of existing philosophical analyses of the innateness concept. They simultaneously explain why these analyses are subject to compelling counterexamples. We argue that this explanation undermines the appeal of these analyses, whether understood as analyses of the (...)
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  18.  23
    Markus Werning, Wolfram Hinzen & Edouard Machery (eds.) (2012). The Oxford Handbook of Compositionality. OUP Oxford.
    Leading linguists and philosophers report on all aspects of compositionality, the notion that the meaning of an expression can be derived from its parts. This book explores every dimension of this field, reporting critically on different lines of research, revealing connections between them, and highlighting current problems and opportunities.
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  19. Edouard Machery (2012). Why I Stopped Worrying About the Definition of Life... And Why You Should as Well. Synthese 185 (1):145-164.
    In several disciplines within science—evolutionary biology, molecular biology, astrobiology, synthetic biology, artificial life—and outside science—primarily ethics—efforts to define life have recently multiplied. However, no consensus has emerged. In this article, I argue that this is no accident. I propose a dilemma showing that the project of defining life is either impossible or pointless. The notion of life at stake in this project is either the folk concept of life or a scientific concept. In the former case, empirical evidence shows that (...)
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  20.  70
    Jonathan Livengood, Justin Sytsma, Adam Feltz, Richard Scheines & Edouard Machery (2010). Philosophical Temperament. Philosophical Psychology 23 (3):313-330.
    Many philosophers have worried about what philosophy is. Often they have looked for answers by considering what it is that philosophers do. Given the diversity of topics and methods found in philosophy, however, we propose a different approach. In this article we consider the philosophical temperament, asking an alternative question: what are philosophers like? Our answer is that one important aspect of the philosophical temperament is that philosophers are especially reflective: they are less likely than their peers to embrace what (...)
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  21. Edouard Machery, Christopher Y. Olivola & Molly De Blanc (2009). Linguistic and Metalinguistic Intuitions in the Philosophy of Language. Analysis 69 (4):689-694.
    Machery et al. (2004) reported some preliminary evidence that intuitions about reference vary within and across cultures, and they argued that if real, such variation would have significant philosophical implications (see also Mallon et al. 2009). In a recent article, Genoveva Martı´ (2009) argues that the type of intuitions examined by Machery and colleagues (‘metalin- 10 guistic intuitions’) is evidentially irrelevant for identifying the correct theory of reference, and she concludes that the variation in the relevant intuitions about reference within (...)
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  22.  23
    Edouard Machery, Christopher Y. Olivola & Molly de Blanc (2009). Linguistic and Metalinguistic Intuitions in the Philosophy of Language. Analysis 69 (4):689 - 694.
    Machery et al. reported some preliminary evidence that intuitions about reference vary within and across cultures, and they argued that if real, such variation would have significant philosophical implications . In a recent article, Genoveva Martí argues that the type of intuitions examined by Machery and colleagues is evidentially irrelevant for identifying the correct theory of reference, and she concludes that the variation in the relevant intuitions about reference within and across cultures has not been established.To substantiate this criticism, Martí (...)
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  23.  36
    Edouard Machery, Max Deutsch, Ron Mallon, Shaun Nichols, Justin Sytsma & Stephen Stich (2010). Semantic Intuitions: Reply to Lam. Cognition 117 (3):363-366.
  24.  48
    Justin Sytsma & Edouard Machery (2012). The Two Sources of Moral Standing. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 3 (3):303-324.
    There are two primary traditions in philosophical theorizing about moral standing—one emphasizing Experience (the capacity to feel pain and pleasure) and one emphasizing Agency (complexity of cognition and lifestyle). In this article we offer an explanation for this divide: Lay judgments about moral standing depend importantly on two independent cues (Experience and Agency), and the two philosophical traditions reflect this aspect of folk moral cognition. In support of this two-source hypothesis, we present the results of a series of new experiments (...)
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  25.  88
    Paul E. Griffiths & Edouard Machery (2008). Innateness, Canalization, and 'Biologicizing the Mind'. Philosophical Psychology 21 (3):397 – 414.
    This article examines and rejects the claim that 'innateness is canalization'. Waddington's concept of canalization is distinguished from the narrower concept of environmental canalization with which it is often confused. Evidence is presented that the concept of environmental canalization is not an accurate analysis of the existing concept of innateness. The strategy of 'biologicizing the mind' by treating psychological or behavioral traits as if they were environmentally canalized physiological traits is criticized using data from developmental psychobiology. It is concluded that (...)
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  26.  57
    Edouard Machery (2008). A Plea for Human Nature. Philosophical Psychology 21 (3):321 – 329.
    Philosophers of biology, such as David Hull and Michael Ghiselin, have argued that the notion of human nature is incompatible with modern evolutionary biology and they have recommended rejecting this notion. In this article, I rebut this argument: I show that an important notion of human nature is compatible with modern evolutionary biology.
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  27.  95
    David Rose, Jonathan Livengood, Justin Sytsma & Edouard Machery (2011). Deep Trouble for the Deep Self. Philosophical Psychology 25 (5):629 - 646.
    Chandra Sripada's (2010) Deep Self Concordance Account aims to explain various asymmetries in people's judgments of intentional action. On this account, people distinguish between an agent's active and deep self; attitude attributions to the agent's deep self are then presumed to play a causal role in people's intentionality ascriptions. Two judgments are supposed to play a role in these attributions?a judgment that specifies the attitude at issue and one that indicates that the attitude is robust (Sripada & Konrath, 2011). In (...)
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  28. Jonathan Livengood & Edouard Machery (2007). The Folk Probably Don't Think What You Think They Think: Experiments on Causation by Absence. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 31 (1):107–127.
    Folk theories—untutored people’s (often implicit) theories about various features of the world—have been fashionable objects of inquiry in psychology for almost two decades now (e.g., Hirschfeld and Gelman 1994), and more recently they have been of interest in experimental philosophy (Nichols 2004). Folk theories of psy- chology, physics, biology, and ethics have all come under investigation. Folk meta- physics, however, has not been as extensively studied. That so little is known about folk metaphysics is unfortunate for (at least) two reasons. (...)
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  29.  46
    Edouard Machery & H. Clark Barrett (2006). Debunking Adapting Minds. Philosophy of Science 73 (2):232-246.
    David Buller’s recent book, _Adapting Minds_, is a philosophical critique of the field of evolutionary psychology. Buller argues that evolutionary psychology is utterly bankrupt from both a theoretical and an empirical point of view. Although _Adapting Minds _has been well received in both the academic press and the popular media, we argue that Buller’s critique of evolutionary psychology fails.
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  30. Edouard Machery (2005). You Don't Know How You Think: Introspection and Language of Thought. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 56 (3):469-485.
    recent cognitive theories into two antagonistic groups. Sententialists claim that we think in some language, while advocates of non-linguistic views of cognition deny this claim. The Introspective Argument for Sententialism is one of the most appealing arguments for sententialism. In substance, it claims that the introspective fact of inner speech provides strong evidence that our thoughts are linguistic. This article challenges this argument. I claim that the Introspective Argument for Sententialism confuses the content of our thoughts with their vehicles: while (...)
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  31.  47
    Edouard Machery (2006). Essay Review: Debunking Adapting Minds. Philosophy of Science 73 (2):232-246.
    David Buller’s recent book, Adapting Minds, is a philosophical critique of the field of evolutionary psychology. Buller argues that evolutionary psychology is utterly bankrupt from both a theoretical and an empirical point of view. Although Adapting Minds has been well received in both the academic press and the popular media, we argue that Buller’s critique of evolutionary psychology fails.
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  32. Edouard Machery (2010). The Bleak Implications of Moral Psychology. Neuroethics 3 (3):223-231.
    In this article, I focus on two claims made by Appiah in Experiments in Ethics: Doris’s and Harman’s criticism of virtue ethics fails, and moral psychology can be used to identify erroneous moral intuitions. I argue that both claims are erroneous.
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  33. Daniel Kelly, Edouard Machery & Ron Mallon (2010). Racial Cognition and Normative Racial Theory. In John Doris (ed.), Moral Psychology Handbook. Oxford University Press 432--471.
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  34. Edouard Machery (2010). Précis of Doing Without Concepts. Philosophical Studies 149 (3):602-611.
    Although cognitive scientists have learned a lot about concepts, their findings have yet to be organized in a coherent theoretical framework. In addition, after twenty years of controversy, there is little sign that philosophers and psychologists are converging toward an agreement about the very nature of concepts. Doing without Concepts (Machery 2009) attempts to remedy this state of affairs. In this article, I review the main points and arguments developed at greater length in Doing without Concepts.
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  35.  65
    Edouard Machery (2006). Two Dogmas of Neo-Empiricism. Philosophy Compass 1 (4):398–412.
    This article critically examines the contemporary resurgence of empiricism (or “neo-empiricism”) in philosophy, psychology, neuropsychology, and artificial intelligence. This resurgence is an important and positive development. It is the first time that this centuries-old empiricist approach to cognition is precisely formulated in the context of cognitive science and neuroscience. Moreover, neo-empiricists have made several findings that challenge amodal theories of concepts and higher cognition. It is argued, however, that the theoretical foundations of and the empirical evidence for neo-empiricism are not (...)
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  36. Daniel Kelly, Edouard Machery & Ron Mallon (2010). Racial Cognition and Normative Racial Theory. In John Doris (ed.), Moral Psychology Handbook. Oxford University Press 432--471.
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  37.  47
    Daniel Kelly, Edouard Machery & Ron Mallon (2010). Race and Racial Cognition. In John Michael Doris (ed.), The Moral Psychology Handbook. Oxford University Press
    A core question of contemporary social morality concerns how we ought to handle racial categorization. By this we mean, for instance, classifying or thinking of a person as Black, Korean, Latino, White, etc.² While it is widely FN:2 agreed that racial categorization played a crucial role in past racial oppression, there remains disagreement among philosophers and social theorists about the ideal role for racial categorization in future endeavors. At one extreme of this disagreement are short-term eliminativists who want to do (...)
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  38. Edouard Machery (web). Discovery and Confirmation in Evolutionary Psychology. In Jesse J. Prinz (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Psychology. Oxford University Press
    The defining insight of evolutionary psychology consists of bringing considerations drawn from evolutionary biology to bear on the study of human psychology. So characterized, evolutionary psychology encompasses a large range of views about the nature and evolution of human psychology as well as diverging opinions about the proper method for studying them.1 In this article, I propose to clarify and evaluate various aspects of evolutionary psychologists’ methodology, with a special focus on their heuristics of discovery—i.e., their methods for developing plausible (...)
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  39.  97
    Joshua Knobe, Tania Lombrozo & Edouard Machery (2010). Editorial: Psychology and Experimental Philosophy. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 1 (2):157-160.
    Recent years have seen an explosion of new work at the intersection of philosophy and experimental psychology. This work takes the concerns with moral and conceptual issues that have so long been associated with philosophy and connects them with the use of systematic and well-controlled empirical investigations that one more typically finds in psychology. Work in this new field often goes under the name "experimental philosophy".
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  40. Luc Faucher & Edouard Machery (2009). Racism: Against Jorge Garcia's Moral and Psychological Monism. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 39 (1):41-62.
    In this article, we argue that it can be fruitful for philosophers interested in the nature and moral significance of racism to pay more attention to psychology. We do this by showing that psychology provides new arguments against Garcia's views about the nature and moral significance of racism. We contend that some scientific studies of racial cognition undermine Garcia's moral and psychological monism about racism: Garcia disregards (1) the rich affective texture of racism and (2) the diversity of what makes (...)
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  41. Jonathan Livengood, Justin Sytsma, Adam Feltz, Richard Scheines & Edouard Machery (2010). Philosophical Temperament. Philosophical Psychology 23 (3):313-330.
    Many philosophers have worried about what philosophy is. Often they have looked for answers by considering what it is that philosophers do. Given the diversity of topics and methods found in philosophy, however, we propose a different approach. In this article we consider the philosophical temperament, asking an alternative question: What are philosophers like? Our answer is that one important aspect of the philosophical temperament is that philosophers are especially reflective. This claim is supported by a study of more than (...)
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  42.  43
    Edouard Machery (2012). Power and Negative Results. Philosophy of Science 79 (5):808-820.
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  43.  90
    Edouard Machery & Faucher Luc (2005). Social Construction and the Concept of Race. Philosophy of Science 72 (5):1208-1219.
    There has been little serious work to integrate the constructionist approach and the cognitive approach in the domain of race, although many researchers have paid lip service to this project. We believe that any satisfactory account of human beings’ racialist cognition has to integrate both approaches. In this paper, we propose a step toward this integration. We present an evolutionary theory that rests on a distinction between various kinds of groups (kin-based groups, small-scale coalitions and ethnies). Following Gil-White (1999, 2001a, (...)
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  44.  43
    Edouard Machery (2008). Massive Modularity and the Flexibility of Human Cognition. Mind and Language 23 (3):263-272.
  45. Daniel Kelly, Luc Faucher & Edouard Machery (2010). Getting Rid of Racism: Assessing Three Proposals in Light of Psychological Evidence. Journal of Social Philosophy 41 (3):293-322.
    At the end of a chapter in his book Race, Racism and Reparations, Angelo Corlett notes that “[t]here remain other queries about racism [than those he addressed in his chapter], which need philosophical exploration. … Perhaps most important, how might racism be unlearned?” (2003, 93). We agree with Corlett’s assessment of its importance, but find that philosophers have not been very keen to directly engage with the issue of how to best deal with, and ultimately do away with, racism. Rather, (...)
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  46. Edouard Machery (2007). Massive Modularity and Brain Evolution. Philosophy of Science 74 (5):825-838.
    Quartz (2002) argues that some recent findings about the evolution of the brain (Finlay & Darlington, 1995) are inconsistent with evolutionary psychologists’ massive modularity hypothesis. In substance, Quartz contends that since the volume of the neocortex evolved in a concerted manner, natural selection did not act on neocortical systems independently of each other, which is a necessary condition for the massive modularity of our cognition to be true. I argue however that Quartz’s argument fails to undermine the massive modularity hypothesis.
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  47.  21
    Edouard Machery (2006). How to Split Concepts: A Reply to Piccinini and Scott. Philosophy of Science 73 (4):410-418.
    In “Concepts Are Not a Natural Kind” (2005), I argued that the notion of concept in psychology and in neuropsychology fails to pick out a natural kind. Piccinini and Scott (2006, in this issue) have criticized the argument I used to support this conclusion. They also proposed two alternative arguments for a similar conclusion. In this reply, I rebut Piccinini and Scott’s main objection against the argument proposed in “Concepts Are Not a Natural Kind.” Moreover, I show that the two (...)
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  48.  13
    Edouard Machery & Luc Faucher (2005). Social Construction and the Concept of Race. Philosophy of Science 72 (5):1208-1219.
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  49.  60
    Edouard Machery & Selja Säppälä, Against Hybrid Theories of Concepts.
    Psychologists of concepts’ traditional assumption that there are many properties common to all concepts has been subject to devastating critiques in psychology and in the philosophy of psychology. However, it is currently unclear what approach to concepts is best suited to replace this traditional assumption. In this article, we compare two competing approaches, the Heterogeneity Hypothesis and the hybrid theories of concepts, and we present an empirical argument that tentatively supports the former over the latter.
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  50.  96
    Edouard Machery (2007). 100 Years of Psychology of Concepts: The Theoretical Notion of Concept and its Operationalization. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 38 (1):63-84.
    The operationalization of scienti?c notions is instrumental in enabling experimental evidence to bear on scienti?c propositions. Conceptual change should thus translate into operationalization change. This article describes some important experimental works in the psychology of concepts since the beginning of the twentieth century. It is argued that since the early days of this ?eld, psy- chologists.
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