The aim of this article is to investigate whether choosing the appropriate referring expression requires taking into account the hearer’s perspective, as is predicted under some versions of bidirectional Optimality Theory but is unexpected under other versions. We did this by comparing the results of 25 young and 25 elderly adults on an elicitation task based on eight different picture stories, and a comprehension task based on eight similar written stories. With respect to the elicitation task, we found that elderly (...) adults produce pronouns significantly more often than young adults when referring to the old topic in the presence of a new topic. With respect to the comprehension task, no significant differences were found between elderly and young adults. These results support the hypothesis that speakers optimize bidirectionally and take into account hearers when selecting a referring expression. If the use of a pronoun will lead to an unintended interpretation by the hearer, the speaker will use an unambiguous definite noun phrase instead. Because elderly adults are more limited in their processing capacities, as is indicated by their smaller working memory capacity, as speakers they will not always be able to reason about the hearer’s choices. As a result, they frequently produce non-recoverable pronouns. (shrink)
Scientific Essentialism defends the view that the fundamental laws of nature depend on the essential properties of the things on which they are said to operate, and are therefore not independent of them. These laws are not imposed upon the world by God, the forces of nature, or anything else, but rather are immanent in the world. Ellis argues that ours is a dynamic world consisting of more or less transient objects which are constantly interacting with each other, and (...) whose identities depend on their roles in these processes. Natural objects must behave as they do, because to do otherwise would be contrary to their natures. The laws of nature are, therefore, metaphysically necessary, and consequently, there are necessary connections between events. Brian Ellis calls for the rejection of the theory of Humean Supervenience and an implementation of a new kind of realism in philosophical analysis. (shrink)
For scientific essentialists, the only logical possibilities of existence are the real (or metaphysical) ones, and such possibilities, they say, are relative to worlds. They are not a priori, and they cannot just be invented. Rather, they are discoverable only by the a posteriori methods of science. There are, however, many philosophers who think that real possibilities are knowable a priori, or that they can just be invented. Marc Lange [Lange 2004] thinks that they can be invented, and tries to (...) use his inventions to argue that the essentialist theory of counterfactual conditionals developed in Scientific Essentialism [Ellis 2001, hereafter SE] is flawed. (shrink)
This book traces a deep misunderstanding about the relation of concepts and reality in the history of philosophy. It exposes the influence of the mistake in the thought of Locke, Berkeley, Kant, Nietzche and Bradley and suggests that the solution can be found in Hegelian thought. Ellis argues that the treatment proposed exemplifies Hegel's dialectical method, an important contribution to this area of philosophy.
Lewis's dynamical systems emotion theory continues a tradition including Merleau-Ponty, von Bertallanfy, and Aristotle. Understandably for a young theory, Lewis's new predictions do not follow strictly from the theory; thus their failure would not disconfirm the theory, nor their success confirm it – especially given that other self-organizational approaches to emotion (e.g., those of Ellis and of Newton) may not be inconsistent with these same predictions.
In this book, Ellis argues that moral and political objectives are not independent of one other, and so must be pursued in tandem. Social humanism is a moral and political philosophy that does just this.
Ellis, Brian Humanists have an unconditional concern for the wellbeing and dignity of humankind. They are fundamentally concerned with increasing the overall quality of people's lives, regardless of their behaviour, and to treat people with respect. They seek to do so by promoting the development of people's natural talents and inculcating attitudes of mutual respect and tolerance. Their central idea is that every person should be treated with equal concern for their good.
Many organizations are utilizing corporate social responsibility initiatives that require employee participation. These initiatives, which involve social action at work (SAW), can be a source of reputational gains, benefit the community, and increase employee organizational identification (Ellis, 2009). Although research has been conducted on employee volunteer programs (EVP), one aspect of SAW, those studies have not identified the characteristics of employees who are most likely to participate in EVP nor have they considered the wide range of SAW programs. In (...) the field of Sociology, extensive research has been conducted to identify characteristics of volunteers, but these volunteer programs are outside the context of CSR initiatives. This research addresses this gap by identifying the characteristics of those who engage in SAW across a wide range of activities. The results of the study can help hone future research questions and aid practitioners in developing and marketing SAW programs that resonate with employees and maximize participation for the good of the employees, organization, and community as a whole. (shrink)
In traditional rebates, consumers submit proof of purchase for an item and then receive a portion of the purchase price, usually in the form of a check or gift card. In contrast, when a consumer redeems a cause rebate, a cash reward is given not to the consumer but to a non-profit organization (Ellis & McCall, 2011). In this paper, we aim to determine the attitudes toward and effectiveness of cause rebates versus traditional rebates. This will help marketers develop (...) more effective rebate programs for their products. We also will investigate characteristics of consumers more likely to redeem cause rebates. Cause rebates represent a mechanism by which businesses can promote personal responsibility on the part of consumers and help draw attention to and raise funds for social and environmental issues. (shrink)
The book includes contributions by Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, George F. R. Ellis , Christopher D. Frith, Mark Hallett, David Hodgson, Owen D. Jones, Alicia Juarrero, J. A. Scott Kelso, Christof Koch, Hans Küng, Hakwan C. Lau, Dean Mobbs, ...
The aim of this paper is to argue that there are categorical properties as well as causal powers, and that the world would not exist as we know it without them. For categorical properties are needed to define the powers—to locate them, and to specify their laws of action. These categorical properties, I shall argue, are not dispositional. For their identities do not depend on what they dispose their bearers to do. They are, as Alexander Bird would say, ’quiddities’. But (...) there is nothing wrong with quiddities. And, in the second half of this paper, I shall defend the thesis that all categorical properties are quiddities. (shrink)
A celebrated problem for representationalist theories of phenomenal character is that, given externalism about content, these theories lead to externalism about phenomenal character. While externalism about content is widely accepted, externalism about phenomenal character strikes many philosophers as wildly implausible. Even if internally identical individuals could have different thoughts, it is said, if one of them has a headache, or a tingly sensation, so must the other. In this paper, I argue that recent work on phenomenal concepts reveals that, contrary (...) to appearances, this standard conjunction of externalism about content and internalism about phenomenal character is ultimately untenable on other models of phenomenal character as well, including even “qualia realism.” This would be significant for a number of reasons. The first is patent: it would undermine a primary objection to representationalism. The fact that representationalism is incompatible with the conjunction would be no serious problem for representationalism if no other plausible model of phenomenal character is compatible with it. The second is that the many philosophers who embrace the conjunction would be forced to abandon one of the two views; externalism would be true either of both content and phenomenal character, or of neither. Likewise, those philosophers who have taken a stance on only one of the two internalism/externalism debates would have to be seen as thereby committed to a particular stance on the other. The third reason stems from the fact that qualia realism typically goes hand in hand with internalism about phenomenal character. To the extent that it does, my argument would reveal that qualia realism is itself in tension with externalism about content. This would perhaps be the most surprising result of all. (shrink)
This paper reports on the Kuhnian revolution now occurring in neuropsychology that is finally supportive of and friendly to phenomenology – the “enactive” approach to the mind-body relation, grounded in the notion of self-organization, which is consistent with Husserl and Merleau-Ponty on virtually every point. According to the enactive approach, human minds understand the world by virtue of the ways our bodies can act relative to it, or the ways we can imagine acting. This requires that action be distinguished from (...) passivity, that the mental be approached from a first person perspective, and that the cognitive capacities of the brain be grounded in the emotional and motivational processes that guide action and anticipate action affordances. It avoids the old intractable problems inherent in the computationalist approaches of twentieth century atomism and radical empiricism, and again allows phenomenology to bridge to neuropsychology in the way Merleau-Ponty was already doing over half a century ago. (shrink)
I start from the presupposition that the use of force against another is justified only in self-defence or in defence of others against aggression. If so, the main work of justifying punishment must rely on its deterrent effect, since most punishments have no other significant self-defensive effect. It has often been objected to the deterrent justification of punishment that it commits us to using offenders unacceptably, and that it is unable to deliver acceptable limits on punishment. I describe a sort (...) of deterrent theory which can avoid both of these objections. (shrink)
Do minority groups have a right to the preservation of their language? I argue that the rights of groups are always reducible to the rights of individuals. In that case, the question whether minorities have a right to the preservation of their language is a question of whether individuals have a right to it. I argue that, in the only relevant sense of ‘right’, they do not. They may have an interest in the preservation of their language, but, if so, (...) that interest must be weighed against the costs of satisfying it, and, normally at least, we should expect that the costs will be quite out of proportion to the weight of the interests involved. (shrink)
Barry Stroud is well known as a critic of philosophers who purport to answer, or otherwise deflate, the threat of skepticism of the external world. He is most famous in this regard for his seminal paper on transcendental arguments, in which he argues that the prospects of defeating the skeptic with such arguments typically depend upon an implausible form of verification principle. There he mostly focuses upon Strawson and Shoemaker. But since then, Stroud has addressed strategies taken against skepticism as (...) varied as those proposed by Kant, Moore, Austin, Carnap, Quine, Cavell, Davidson, and Sosa, in each case meticulously articulating precisely why the strategy could not ultimately succeed. It is not surprising, then, that Stroud has come to be thought of as the quintessential skeptic. Epistemologists will be surprised to learn, then, that in several recent papers Stroud now argues that we face no threat of skepticism after all. If he who has been so carefully critical of enterprises that purport to answer, or otherwise deflate, the threat of skepticism has something now to say as to why we face no such threat at all, it is a proposal that comes with good pedigree and perhaps even a presumption in its favor. (shrink)
In this paper it will be argued that causal laws describe the actions of causal powers. The process which results from such an action is one which belongs to a natural kind, the essence of which is that it is a display of this causal power. Therefore, if anything has a given causal power necessarily, it must be naturally disposed to act in the manner prescribed by the causal law describing the action of this causal power. In the formal expressions (...) of causal laws, the necessity operators occur within the scopes of the universal quantifiers. Hence the necessities must hold of each instance. The causal laws may thus be shown to be concerned with necessary connections between events or circumstances of precisely the sort required for a decent account of singular causation. (shrink)
I argue in this paper that anyone who accepts the ontology of scientific realism can only accept a pragmatic theory of truth, i.e., a theory on which truth is what it is epistemically right to believe. But the combination of realism with such a theory of truth is a form of internal realism; therefore, a scientific realist should be an internal realist. The strategy of the paper is to argue that there is no adequate semantic or correspondence theory of truth (...) compatible with a realist ontology, that a redundancy theory cannot account for the value of truth, and that the only kind of truth theory which can account for the value of truth, and is compatible with a realist ontology, is a pragmatic theory. The kind of truth theory I wish to defend is objective and naturalistic, and the ontology is realistic. My position is, therefore, one of objective, naturalistic realism. (shrink)
In Davidson’s philosophy, one finds a wide variety of rich, provocative, and influential arguments concerning the nature of the mind—that mental states emerge only in the context of interpretation, that belief is “in its nature” veridical, that mental events are physical events, and so on. Most, if not all, of Davidson’s conclusions about the mind have their source in discussions about the project of “radical interpretation.” They rely upon arguments concerning the conditions on the successful interpretation of a speaker by (...) an interpreter who knows nothing initially about the speaker’s language or mental states. (shrink)
This book is a philosophical critique of the Buddhist tradition (not a scholarly work about the Buddhist tradition), applying the standards of judgement developed in 'A Theory of Moral Objectivity'. It is argued that although the Buddhist tradition provides access to the insights of the Middle Way, many other aspects of Buddhist tradition are inconsistent with this central insight. The sources of justified belief in Buddhism, karma, conditionality, concepts of reality, monasticism and Buddhist ethics are all subjected to the same (...) critique. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue against Alva Noë’s defense of the claim that knowing how to do something requires being able to do it. Noë objects to Jason Stanley and Timothy Williamson’s arguments against this claim by charging that their arguments involve a lot of what he calls “GOOP”: good old-fashioned Oxford philosophy. I provide an example in which I claim an individual knows how to do something that he is unable to do. The example is persuasive, I maintain, and (...) especially so against someone who forbids the use of GOOP in this context. (shrink)
Traditionally, forces are causes of a special sort. Forces have been conceived to be the direct or immediate causes of things. Other sorts of causes act indirectly by producing forces which are transmitted in various ways to produce various effects. However, forces are supposed to act directly without the mediation of anything else. But forces, so conceived, appear to be occult. They are mysterious, because we have no clear conception of what they are, as opposed to what they are postulated (...) to do; and they seem to be hidden from direct observations. There is, therefore, strong initial motivation for trying to eliminate forces from physics. Furthermore, as we shall explain, powerful arguments can be mounted to show that theories with forces can always be recast as theories without them. Hence it seems that forces should be eliminated, in the interests of simplicity. We argue, however, that forces should not be eliminated--just differently construed. For the effect of elimination is to leave us without any adequate account of the causal relationships forces were postulated to explain. And this would remain the case, even if forces could be identified with some merely dispositional properties of physical systems. In our view, forces are species of the causal relation itself, and as such have a different ontological status from the sorts of entities normally considered to be related as causes to effects. (shrink)
An inter-disciplinary philosophical treatise (written as an accredited Ph.D. thesis) that attempts to establish a new approach to moral objectivity. Inspired by the Buddha's Middle Way, but arguing from first premises, it challenges widespread and interlinked assumptions in both analytic and continental philosophy, whilst drawing on both these traditions together with psychological, religious and historical evidence. The first section of the book provides a detailed critique of existing approaches to ethics in the Western tradition. The second half then puts forward (...) positive and practical alternatives, and solutions to long-standing philosophical problems. (shrink)
According to colour irrealism, material objects do not have colour; they only appear to have colour. The appeal of this view, prominent among philosophers and scientists alike, stems in large part from the conviction that scientific explanations of colour facts do not ascribe colour to material objects. To explain why objects appear to have colour, for instance, we need only appeal to surface reflectance properties, properties of light, the neurophysiology of observers, etc. Typically attending colour irrealism is the error theory (...) of ordinary colour judgement: ordinary judgements in which colour is ascribed to a material object are, strictly speaking, false. In this paper, I claim that colour irrealists who endorse the error theory cannot explain how we acquire colour concepts (yellow, green, etc.), concepts they must acknowledge we do possess. Our basic colour concepts, I argue, could not be phenomenal concepts that we acquire by attending to the colour properties of our experience. And, I explain, all other plausible explanations render colour concepts such that our ordinary colour judgements involving them are often true. Given the explanatory considerations upon which the irrealist's position is based, this is a severe problem for colour irrealism. (shrink)
The reason, according to the contextualist, that precise boundaries for expressions like ‘heap’ or ‘tall for a basketball player’ are so difﬁcult to detect is that when two entities are sufﬁciently similar (or saliently similar), we tend to shift the interpretation of the vague expression so that if one counts as falling in the extension of the property expressed by that expression, so does the other. As a conse- quence, when we look for the boundary of the extension of a (...) vague expression in its penumbra, our very looking has the effect of chang- ing the interpretation of the vague expression so that the boundary is not where we are looking. This accounts for the persuasive force of sorites arguments. (Stanley 2003: 269). (shrink)
A theory of morality acceptable to humanists must be one that can be accepted independently of religion. In this paper, I argue that while there is such a theory, it is a non-standard one, and its acceptance would have some far-reaching consequences. As one might expect, the theory is similar to others in various ways. But it is not the same as any of them. Indeed, it is a radically new theory. Like Hume’s ethics, it is founded on our natural (...) sociability, and feelings of empathy for others. Like Aristotle’s theory, it incorporates an ethics of virtue. Like Kant’s theory, it regards the set of moral principles as those appropriate for a socially ideal society. But unlike Kant’s theory, it is essentially utilitarian. I call it ‘social contractual utilitarianism’. (shrink)
Knowing only what is empirically knowable can't by itself entail knowledge of what consciousness "is like." But if dualism is to be avoided, the question arises: how can a process be completely empirically unobservable when all of its components are completely observable? The recently emerging theory of self-organization offers resources with which to resolve this problem: Consciousness can be an empirically unobservable process because the emotions motivating attention are experienced only from the perspective of the one whose phenomenal states are (...) executed by the self-organizing processes which themselves constitute the consciousness. I argue that a self-organizing process can differ from the sum of its (empirically observable) substrata because, rather than just being realized by them, it actively rearranges the background conditions under which alternative component causal sequences can realize the self-organizing pattern into the future. (shrink)
This paper argues that there is a default presumption that punishment has some deterrent effect, and that the burden of proof is upon those who allege that the costs of any particular penal system are insufficient to offset its deterrent benefits. This burden of proof transmits to the discussion of international law, with the conclusion that it is those who oppose international jurisdiction, rather than their opponents, who must prove their position. This they have so far failed to do.
I examine Roger Scruton's account of the religious and soteriological significance of Wagner's Tristan and Isolde . The relation between Scruton and Wagner remains unclear, and the position at issue is a curious amalgam of the two. I refer to its author as ‘Scruton's Wagner’. Scruton's Wagner argues that erotic love has religious and soteriological significance, and that the notions of religion and salvation are to be defined in terms which are shorn of any reference to God. I argue that (...) there may be good reasons for setting these limits short of God, but that Scruton's Wagner does not provide them. (shrink)
This paper has two goals: first, to show that the footnote and structure of App. 20, to which too little careful attention has been given, ultimately undermine a great many interpretations of Hume’s dissatisfaction with his theory of personal identity; and second, to offer an interpretation that both heeds these textual features and (unlike other interpretations consistent with these features) renders Hume worried about something that would have truly bothered him. Hume’s problem, I contend, concerns the relation, in his genetic (...) explanation of ideas such as that of the self, between (i) the objects of the perceptions along which there is a smooth and uninterrupted progress of thought, and (ii) the contents of the ideas that the mind in such cases sometimes subsequently invents. (shrink)
At least since Democritus, philosophers have been fond of the idea that material objects do not “really” have color. One such view is the error theory, according to which our ordinary judgments ascribing colors to objects are all erroneous, false; no object has any color at all. The error theorist proposes that everything that is so, including the fact that material objects appear to us to have color, can be explained without ever attributing color to objects—by appealing merely to, e.g., (...) surface reflectance properties, the nature of light, the neurophysiology of perceivers, and so on. The appeal of the error theory stems in significant part from the prevalent thought that such explanations are strongly suggested by our present scientific conception of the world.1. (shrink)
In the political arena, lesbian and gay issues have been contested typically on grounds of human rights, but with variable success. Using a moral developmental framework, the purpose of this study was to explore preferences for different types of moral arguments when thinking about moral dilemmas around lesbian and gay issues. The analysis presented here comprised data collected from 545 students at UK universities who completed a questionnaire, part of which comprised a moral dilemma task. Findings of the study showed (...) that respondents do not apply moral reasoning consistently, and do not (clearly) favour human rights reasoning when thinking about lesbian and gay issues. Respondents tended to favour reasoning supporting existing social structures and frameworks, therefore this study highlights the importance of structural change in effecting widespread attitude change in relation to lesbian and gay rights issues. The implications of the findings for moral education are also discussed. (shrink)
This volume introduces some of the basic philosophical and conceptual questions underlying the formulation of quantum mechanics, one of the most baffling and far-reaching aspects of modern physics. The book consists of articles by leading thinkers in this field, who have been inspired by the profound work of the late John Bell. Some of the deepest issues concerning the nature of physical reality are debated, including the theory of physical measurements, how to test quantum mechanics, and how classical and quantum (...) physics are related. This book will be of interest to students with a background in quantum physics, who wish to explore in more detail its philosophical aspects, practising scientists who are not content with blindly applying the rules of quantum mechanics, and anyone interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the philosophy of physics. (shrink)
This book is a survey of practical moral issues applying the Middle Way (as developed in 'A Theory of Moral Objectivity') as the basis of 'Buddhist' Ethics. No appeal is made to Buddhist traditions or scriptures, but instead the Middle Way is applied consistently as a universal philosophical and practical principle to suggest the direction of resolutions to moral debates. Practical ethics topics covered include sexual ethics, medical ethics, environmental ethics, animals, violence, the arts, scientific issues and political ethics.
It is a mistake to think that instrumental rationality fixes a single standard for judging or describing actions. While there is a core conception of instrumental rationality, we appeal to different elaborations of that conception for different purposes. An action can be instrumentally rational in some sense(s) but not in others. As we learn more about behavior, it is possible to add useful elaborations of the core conception of instrumental rationality. In this paper, I propose a newelaboration based on Frederic (...) Schick’s work on understandings. (shrink)
Mack and Rock show evidence that no consciousperception occurs without a prior attentiveact. Subjects already executing attention taskstend to neglect visible elements extraneous tothe attentional task, apparently lacking evenbetter-than-chance ``implicit perception,''except in certain cases where the unattendedstimulus is a meaningful word or has uniquepre-tuned salience similar to that ofmeaningful words. This is highly consistentwith ``enactive'' notions that consciousnessrequires selective attention via emotional subcortical and limbic motivationalactivation as it influences anterior attentionmechanisms. Occipital activation withoutconsciousness suggests that motivated search,enacted through the organism's (...) subcorticalmotivational functions, is needed beforevisual stimulation engenders consciousness.This enactive view – that searching for,rather than receiving or processing input isthe basis of consciousness – was slow ingaining acceptance lacking empirical evidenceof this kind, combined with thestimulus-response assumption that brain eventssubserving perceptual consciousness must resultfrom transformation of perceptual input ratherthan from the organism's self-regulatedactivity as manifested through subcorticalactivity. Implicit perception occurring withword priming is ``paradoxical'' according to Mackand Rock, suggesting late selection forattention after extensive unconsciousprocessing, while most trials involvingnonverbal rather than verbal images mightsuggest earlier selection, sinceunattended objects are unseen, apparently evenimplicitly. This paper argues that anteriorand subcortical motivational mechanisms play animportant role in early selection; posteriormechanisms then unconsciously enhance signals;if data survive early gating andcorticothalamic enhancement, then still further anterior-limbic loops motivatedlyactivate ``image schemas'' resonating withposterior nonconscious processing; at thatpoint, consciousness occurs. (shrink)
I consider whether there are philosophical developments which can deepen our understanding of God. I focus upon the relation between experience and physical things and the nature of value. I reject the narrow limits of experience presupposed by the verificationist, and the related monopoly of science on reality. I recommend a conception of reality which is rich enough to accommodate physical things and also the intertwining of value in the natural world. I detect structural similarities between these two problems and (...) the problem of God, and consider how they might be related at the level of content. (shrink)
I am concerned to examine a mode of argumentation in recent analytic philosophy which, I claim, has its origin in Hegel's ‘dialectical’ method. I give examples of this mode of argumentation in McDowell and Wiggins, followed by a formal representation which distinguishes two possible models both of which have negative and positive aspects. I consider what the commitments of the negative aspect of this approach are, and argue that the desire to avoid naturalism constitutes a common goal. I turn then (...) to its positive aspect, making explicit and criticising some of the metaphilosophical implications contained therein. Finally, I make brief contact with Hegel. (shrink)
Marketers use autobiographical advertising as a means to create nostalgia for their products. This research explores whether such referencing can cause people to believe that they had experiences as children that are mentioned in the ads. In Experiment 1, participants viewed an ad for Disney that suggested that they shook hands with Mickey Mouse as a child. Relative to controls, the ad increased their conﬁdence that they personally had shaken hands with Mickey as a child at a Disney resort. The (...) increased conﬁdence could be due to a revival of a true memory or the creation of a new, false one. In Experiment 2, participants viewed an ad for Disney that suggested that they shook hands with an impossible character (e.g., Bugs Bunny). Again, relative to controls, the ad increased conﬁdence that they personally had shaken hands with the impossible character as a child at a Disney resort. The increased conﬁdence is consistent with the notion that autobiographical referencing can lead to the creation of false or distorted memory. ᭧ 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (shrink)
In an essay for Brian Leiter's turn-of-the-millennium The Future for Philosophy, Thomas Hurka writes:[A]n anti-theoretical position is properly open only to those who have made a serious effort to theorize a given domain and found that it cannot succeed. Anti-theorists who do not make this effort are simply being lazy, like Wittgenstein himself. . . . [I]n one of the great underappreciated books of the twentieth century Bernard Suits gives perfectly persuasive necessary and sufficient conditions for something's being a game.In (...) this note, it is shown that the conditions Suits and Hurka celebrate are neither necessary nor sufficient for something's being a game. (shrink)
This book is a briefer and updated account of the Middle Way Philosophy developed in 'A Theory of Moral Objectivity'. Its starting point is the argument that we are not justified in making any claims about truth, whether moral or scientific, but the idea of truth is still meaningful. Instead of making or denying metaphysical claims about truth, we need to think in terms of incrementally objective justification within experience. This standpoint is related to an account of objectivity as psychological (...) integration, and applied to questions of resposibility, ethics, science, religion and politics. (shrink)
In his original paper of 1905, "On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies", Einstein described a procedure for synchronizing distant clocks at rest in any inertial system K. Clocks thus synchronized may be said to be in standard signal synchrony in K. It has often been claimed that there are no logical or physical reasons for preferring standard signal synchronizations to any of a range of possible non-standard ones. In this paper, the range of consistent non-standard signal synchronizations, first for any (...) one inertial system, and second for any set of such systems, is investigated, and it is shown that the requirement of consistency leaves much less room for choice than is commonly supposed. Nevertheless consistent non-standard signal synchronizations appear to be possible. However, it is also shown that good physical reasons for preferring standard signal synchronizations exist, if the Special Theory of Relativity yields correct predictions. The thesis of the conventionality of distant simultaneity espoused particularly by Reichenbach and Grunbaum is thus either trivialized or refuted. (shrink)
In addressing the shortcomings of computationalism, we should not throw the baby out with the bathwater. That consciousness is not merely an epiphenomenon with optional access to unconscious computations does not imply that unconscious computations, in the limited domain where they do occur (e.g., occipital transformations of visual data), cannot be reformulated in a way consistent with a self-organizational view.