Ethicists are typically willing to grant that thick terms (e.g. ‘courageous’ and ‘murder’) are somehow associated with evaluations. But they tend to disagree about what exactly this relationship is. Does a thick term’s evaluation come by way of its semantic content? Or is the evaluation pragmatically associated with the thick term (e.g. via conversational implicature)? In this paper, I argue that thick terms are semantically associated with evaluations. In particular, I argue that many thick concepts (if not all) conceptually entail (...)evaluative contents. The Semantic View has a number of outspoken critics, but I shall limit discussion to the most recent--Pekka Väyrynen--who believes that objectionable thick concepts present a problem for the Semantic View. After advancing my positive argument in favor of the Semantic View (section II), I argue that Väyrynen’s attack is unsuccessful (section III). One reason ethicists cite for not focusing on thick concepts is that such concepts are supposedly not semantically evaluative whereas traditional thin concepts (e.g. good and wrong) are. But if my view is correct, then this reason must be rejected. (shrink)
The literature of bioethics suffers from two serious problems. (1) Most authors are unable to take seriously both the rights of the great apes and of severely disabled human infants. Rationalism—moral status rests on rational capacities—wrongly assigns a higher moral status to the great apes than to all severely disabled human infants with less rational capacities than the great apes. Anthropocentrism—moral status depends on membership in the human species—falsely grants all humans a higher moral status than the great apes. Animalism—moral (...) status is dependent on the ability to suffer—mistakenly equates the moral status of humans and most animals. (2) The concept person is widely used for justificatory purposes, but it seems that it cannot play such a role. It seems that it is either redundant or unable to play any justificatory role. I argue that we can solve the second problem by understanding person as a thick evaluative concept. This then enables us to justify assigning a higher moral status to the great apes than to simple animals: the great apes are persons. To solve the first problem, I argue that certain severely disabled infants have a higher moral status than the great apes because they are dependent upon human relationships for their well-being. Only very limited abilities are required for such relationships, and the question who is capable of them must be based on thick evaluative concepts. Thus, it turns out that to make progress in bioethics we must assign thick evaluative concepts a central role. (shrink)
It is generally accepted that there are two kinds of normative concepts: evaluative concepts, such as good, and deontic concepts, such as ought. The question that is raised by this distinction is how it is possible to claim that evaluative concepts are normative. Given that deontic concepts appear to be at the heart of normativity, the bigger the gap between evaluative and deontic concepts, the less it appears plausible to say that evaluative concepts are normative. After (...) having presented the main differences between evaluative and deontic concepts, and shown that there is more than a superficial difference between the two kinds, the paper turns to the question of the normativity of evaluative concepts. It will become clear that, even if these concepts have different functions, there are a great many ties between evaluative concepts, on the one hand, and the concepts of ought and of reason, on the other. (shrink)
What account of evaluative expressions, such as ‘is beautiful’, ‘is generous’ or ‘is good’, should a Fregean adopt? Given Frege’s claim that predicates can have both a sense and a reference in addition to their extension, an interesting range of only partially explored theoretical possibilities opens to Frege and his followers. My intention here is to briefly present these putative possibilities and explore one of them, namely David Wiggins’ claim that evaluative predicates refer to non-natural concepts and have (...) a sense which is sentiment-involving. In order to defend this claim against objections which aim at showing that evaluative concepts do not really exist, I shall suggest that our awareness of evaluative concepts involves affective (or emotive) states. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: Are there justified emotions? Can they justify evaluative judgements? We first explain the need for an account of justified emotions by emphasizing that emotions are states for which we have or lack reasons. We then observe that emotions are explained by their cognitive and motivational bases. Considering cognitive bases first, we argue that an emotion is justified if and only if the properties the subject is aware of constitute an instance of the relevant evaluative property. We then (...) investigate the roles of motivational bases. Finally, we argue that justified emotions are sufficient for justified evaluative judgements. (shrink)
In this paper, Wittgenstein's philosophical approach and remarks are used to highlight features of pride that are not represented in contemporary psychological theories. Wittgenstein's scattered philosophical and autobiographical remarks on pride are arranged in order to engage with aspects of pride (e.g., as a self-conscious emotion) that can appear to have only empirical answers. Important themes to emerge in the resulting surview include the temptation to talk of pride as having or being a structure, the role of personal context in (...) understanding intense emotions, the difficulty of finding a referent for proud feelings, choices of words to convey or capture feelings, the possibility of further descriptions of one's inner experiences, bodily and immediate features of the experience of pride, and the need to reconcile occasional immediate bodily and behavioural manifestations of pride with the popular view of pride as a “thoughtful” emotion. The results suggest that new perspectives can emerge through assembling reminders of the everyday use of a concept and engaging with existing research. (shrink)
In this paper I look at attempts to develop forms of consequentialism which do not have a feature considered problematic in Direct Consequentialist theories (that is, those consequentialist theories that apply the criterion of rightness directly in the evaluation of any set of options). The problematic feature in question (which I refer to as ‘evaluative conflict’) is the possibility that, for example, a right motive might lead an agent to perform a wrong act. Theories aiming to avoid this phenomenon (...) must argue that causal relationship entails motives and acts (for example) having the same moral status. I argue that attempts to ensure such ‘evaluative consistency’ are themselves deeply problematic, and that we must therefore accept evaluative conflict. (shrink)
Evaluative Semantics proposes a strongly postmodernist theory of cognition, ideology and discourse in which the structure and internal consistency of ideology resemble those of evaluative knowledge of the mind. The strength of this book is that it goes beyond purely theoretical claims to propose an original connectionist model of evaluative interpretation. Malrieu's new semantics makes a unique contribution to the literature of cognitive science, linguistics, and discourse analysis.
The phenomenology of emotions has traditionally been understood in terms of bodily sensations they involve. This is a mistake. We should instead understand their phenomenology in terms of their distinctively evaluative intentionality. Emotions are essentially affective modes of response to the ways our circumstances come to matter to us, and so they are ways of being pleased or pained by those circumstances. Making sense of the intentionality and phenomenology of emotions in this way requires rejecting traditional understandings of intentionality (...) and so coming to see emotions as a distinctive and irreducible class of mental states lying at the intersection of intentionality, phenomenology, and motivation. (shrink)
A fiction may prescribe imagining that a pig can talk or tell the future. A fiction may prescribe imagining that torturing innocent persons is a good thing. We generally comply with imaginative prescriptions like the former, but not always with prescriptions like the latter: we imagine non-evaluative fictions without difficulty but sometimes resist imagining value-rich fictions. Thus arises the puzzle of imaginative resistance. Most analyses of the phenomenon focus on the content of the relevant imaginings. The present analysis focuses (...) instead on the character of certain kinds of imaginings, arguing that we resist in such cases given the rich evaluative character of the imaginings prescribed, and the agent-dependent constraints on imagining in such ways. (shrink)
Ethical thought is articulated around normative concepts. Standard examples of normative concepts are good, reason, right, ought, and obligatory. Theorists often treat the normative as an undifferentiated domain. Even so, it is common to distinguish between two kinds of normative concepts: evaluative or axiological concepts, such as good, and deontic concepts, such as ought. This encyclopedia entry discusses the many differences between the two kinds of concepts.
There is good evidence that, in general, autonomic conditioning in humans occurs only when subjects can verbalize the contingencies of conditioning. However, one form of conditioning, evaluative conditioning (EC), seems exceptional in that a growing body of evidence suggests that it can occur without conscious contingency awareness. As such, EC offers a unique insight into what role contingency awareness might play in associative learning. Despite this evidence, there are reasons to doubt that evaluative conditioning can occur without conscious (...) awareness. This paper aims to critically review the EC literature and to draw some parallels to what is known about autonomic conditioning. In doing so, some important general issues about measuring contingency awareness are raised. These issues are illustrated with a brief report of an experiment in which a sensitive measure of contingency awareness is compared against a commonly used measure. (shrink)
In her commentary of Field (1999), Hammerl (1999) has drawn attention to several interesting points concerning the issue of contingency awareness in evaluative conditioning. First, she comments on several contentious issues arising from Field's review of the evaluative conditioning literature, second she critiques the data from his pilot study and finally she argues the case that EC is a distinct form of conditioning that can occur in the absence of contingency awareness. With reference to these criticisms, this reply (...) attempts to address Hammerl's comments by exploring the issues of how awareness is defined, how it is best measured, and whether it is reasonable to believe that EC uniformly occurs in the absence of contingency awareness. The article concludes that the available evidence supports Field's proposition that EC is, in fact, Pavlovian learning. (shrink)
In this contribution the author develops an argumentation model for the reconstruction of weighing and balancing on the basis of teleological-evaluative considerations. The model is intended as a heuristic and critical tool for the rational reconstruction of the justification of judicial decisions. From the perspective of a rational discussion, it makes explicit the choices underlying the weighing and balancing on the basis of goals and values so that they can be made explicit and submitted to rational critique.
We argue that the effects of evaluative learning may occur (a) without conscious perception of the affective stimuli, (b) without awareness of the stimulus contingencies, and (c) without any awareness that learning has occurred at all. Whether the three experiments reported in our target article provide conclusive evidence for either or any of these assertions is discussed in the commentaries of De Houwer and Field. We respond with the argument that when considered alongside other studies carried out over the (...) past few decades, our experiments provide compelling evidence for a theory that posits a dissociation between evaluative learning and contingency awareness. (shrink)
In this paper I will argue that evaluative adjectives, such as good, bad, clever and skilful, should be analysed as one-place predicates in logical translation. This approach, which is basically the traditional logical treatment of ‘absolute’ adjectives, is to be contrasted with the approach in Montague (1974a) and Parsons (1972), wherein all adjectives are translated as two-place predicates, i.e. as semantic attributives. The move away from the Montague-Parsons analysis is not new: Bartsch (1972. 1975), McConnell-Ginet (1973), Kamp (1975), Siegel (...) (1976a, 1976b, 1979), Keenan &. Faltz (1978) and Klein (1980) have similarly advocated one-place predicate status, at least for fairly straightforward qualities (e.g. red, carnivorous, stony,) and even for degree adjectives (e.g. tall, short, heavy and old). Evaluatives, however, remain troublesome: Kamp concluded that their status was uncertain, and Siegel classified them as two-place predicates after much argument. My remarks are directed primarily against Siegel's analysis; I intend to show that there are syntactic tests, some suggested by Siegel herself, which argue persuasively that evaluative adjectives should be interpreted as one-place predicates. (shrink)
Cognitive agents form beliefs representing the world, evaluate the world as represented, form plans for making the world more to their liking, and perform actions executing the plans. Then the cycle repeats. This is the doxastic-conative loop, diagrammed in figure one.1 Both human beings and the autonomous rational agents envisaged in AI are cognitive agents in this sense. The cognition of a cognitive agent can be subdivided into two parts. Epistemic cognition is that kind of cognition responsible for producing and (...) maintaining beliefs. Practical cognition evaluates the world, adopts plans, and initiates action. There is a massive literature both in philosophy and artificial intelligence concerning various aspects of epistemic cognition, and large parts of it are well understood. Practical cognition is less well understood. We can usefully divide practical cognition into five parts: (1) the evaluation of the world as represented by the agent’s beliefs, (2) the adoption of goals for changing it, (3) the construction of plans for achieving goals, (4) the adoption of plans, and (5) the execution of plans. There is a substantial literature in AI concerning the construction and execution of plans, and I will say nothing further about those topics here. This paper will focus on the evaluative aspects of practical cognition. Evaluation plays an essential role in both goal selection and plan adoption. My concern here is the investigation of evaluation as a cognitive enterprise performed by cognitive agents. I am interested both in how it is performed in human beings and how it might be performed in artificial rational agents. (shrink)
Evaluative sentences (moral judgments, expressions of taste, epistemic modals) are relative to the speaker's standards. Lately, a phenomenon has challenged the traditional explanation of this relativity: whenever two speakers disagree over them they contradict each other without being at fault. Hence, it is thought that the correction of the assertions involved must be relative to an unprivileged standard not necessarily the speaker's. I will claim instead that so far, neither this nor any other proposal has provided an explanation of (...) the phenomenon. I will point out several problems presented by them and I will hint to how this phenomenon could be explained by making minor adjustments to our semantic theory. Sentenças avaliativas (julgamentos morais, expressões de gosto, modos epistêmicos) são relativas aos padrões do falante. Recentemente, um fenômeno desafiou a explicação tradicional dessa relatividade: sempre que dois falantes discordam entre si, eles contradizem um ao outro sem estarem errados. Por isso, pensa-se que a correção das asserções envolvidas deve ser relacionada a um padrão desprovido de privilégio e não necessariamente ao padrão do falante. Eu sustentarei, ao contrário, que até agora nem esta nem alguma outra proposta forneceu uma explicação do fenômeno. Eu assinalarei diversos problemas apresentados por essas propostas e sugerirei o modo como este fenômeno poderia ser explicado ao fazer pequenos ajustes em nossa teoria semântica. (shrink)
Fulcher and Hammerl's (2001) important exploration of the role of contingency awareness in evaluative conditioning (EC) raises a lot of issues for discussion: (1) what boundaries, if any, exist between EC and affective learning paradigms?; (2) if EC does occur without awareness does this mean it is nonpropositional learning?; (3) is EC driven by stimulus-response (S-R), rather than stimulus-stimulus (S-S), associations and if so should it then surprise us that contingency awareness is not important?; and (4) if S-R associations (...) are at the heart of EC, should we automatically assume EC is part of a different learning mechanism to autonomic Pavlovian conditioning (Field, 2000a, 2000b)? This article, after a critical review of Fulcher and Hammerl's work, discusses these issues with reference to what can be realistically inferred about the mechanisms underlying EC. (shrink)
This paper returns to a perennial controversy I examined in a previous paper in the Journal of Business Ethics (Vol. 2, 1983). Is economic theory an ethically neutral discipline or do its statements presuppose a commitment to moral values? Once again this issue is addressed via a case study of the neo-classical theory of rational choice. In the present paper I focus on behaviourist forms of operationalist attempts to short-circuit any argument that would seek to infer moral presuppositions from the (...) use of evaluative discourse. In particular, I examine strategies that have sought to excise from economic theory the mentalistic vocabulary required to describe valuations per se. And I argue that such tactics are deficient since they i) impoverish the explanatory power of economic theory, (ii) fail to recover the normative usefulness of the theory of choice, and (iii) camouflage the continued presupposition of moral commitments within neo-classical theory. (shrink)
Three experiments are reported that address the issue of awareness in evaluative learning in two different sensory modalities: visual and haptic. Attempts were made to manipulate the degree of awareness through a reduction technique (by use of a distractor task in Experiments 1 and 2 and by subliminally presenting affective stimuli in Experiment 3) and an induction technique (by unveiling the evaluative learning effect and requiring participants to try to discount the influence of the affective stimuli). The results (...) indicate overall that evaluative learning was successful in the awareness-reduction groups but not in the awareness-induction groups. Moreover, an effect in the opposite direction to that normally observed in evaluative learning emerged in participants aware of the stimulus contingencies. In addition, individual differences in psychological reactance were found to be implicated in the strength and direction of the effect. It is argued that these results pose serious problems for the contention that awareness is necessary for evaluative learning. (shrink)
In this paper I offer a characterization of evaluative realism, present the intuitive case against it, and offer two considerations to support it further: one concerning the internalist connection between values and motivation, and the other concerning the intuitive causal inefficacy of evaluative properties. The considerations ultimately rely on the former intuitions themselves, but are not devoid of interest, as they might make one revise what one took to be his own realistic supporting intuitions, if such one had.
Moral Perception is the moral agent’s perception of the morally significant situation. In recent decades, the question about the role of moral perception in the moral life has drawn more and more attention in contemporary ethical theories. It has been widely acknowledged that the virtuous person perceives a given morally significant situation differently from others. But, current discussions of moral perception have been focused on the cognitive function of moral perception i.e., moral perception's making a certain feature of a given (...) situation salient for the agent, but there is not much that has been said about the evaluative nature of moral perception, i.e., moral perception's offering the agent a certain evaluation of the saliently perceived feature of a given situation. This paper is intended to show that moral perception has both cognitive and evaluative dimensions. More specifically, it argues that moral perception is not only a matter of saliently seeing certain features of a morally significant situation but also a matter of evaluating these features. It is such an integration of cognitive and evaluative dimensions of moral perception that provides with the agent motivational power and makes her action possible. (shrink)
The current use of citation-based metrics to evaluate the research output of individual researchers is highly discriminatory because they are uniformly applied to authors of single-author articles as well as contributors of multi-author papers. In the latter case, these quantitative measures are counted, as if each contributor were the single author of the full article. In this way, each and every contributor is assigned the full impact-factor score and all the citations that the article has received. This has a multiplication (...) effect on each contributor's citation-based evaluative metrics of multi-author articles, because the more contributors an article has, the more undeserved credit is assigned to each of them. In this paper, I argue that this unfair system could be made fairer by requesting the contributors of multi-author articles to describe the nature of their contribution, and to assign a numerical value to their degree of relative contribution. In this way, we could create a contribution-specific index of each contributor for each citation metric. This would be a strong disincentive against honorary authorship and publication cartels, because it would transform the current win-win strategy of accepting honorary authors in the byline into a zero-sum game for each contributor. (shrink)
This article examines the evaluative nature of the folk concepts of weakness and strength of will and hypothesizes that their evaluative nature is strongly connected to the folk concepts of blame and credit. We probed how people apply the concepts of weakness and strength of will to prototypical and non-prototypical scenarios. While regarding prototypical scenarios the great majority applied these concepts according to the predictions following from traditional philosophical analyses. When presented with non-prototypical scenarios, people were divided. Some, (...) against traditional analyses, did not apply these concepts, which we explain in terms of a clash of evaluations involving different sorts of blame and credit. Others applied them according to traditional analyses, which we explain in terms of a disposition to be reflective and clearly set apart the different sorts of blame and credit involved. Still others applied them in an inverse way, seemingly bypassing the traditional components resolution and best judgment, which we explain in terms of a reinterpretation of the scenarios driven by an assumption that everyone knows deep inside that the best thing to do is to act morally. This division notwithstanding, we claim that our results are largely supportive of traditional analyses (qua analyses of folk concepts). (shrink)
Rutherford and Lindell (2011) review an extensive literature on lateralization of emotion. As they note, an important issue surrounding this question is the nature of emotion, which bears on what, precisely, is lateralized. The present comments are intended to broaden the context of the review, by considering lateralization from the standpoint of a bivariate model of evaluative processes and a neuroevolutionary perspective.
In this paper I offer a characterization of evaluative realism, present the intuitive case against it, and offer two considerations to support it further: one concerning the internalist connection between values and motivation, and the other concerning the intuitibve causal inefficacy of evaluative properties. The considerations ultimately rely on the former intuitions themselves, but are not devoid of interest, as they might make one revise what one took to be his own realistic supporting intuitions, if such one had.
The Implicit Association Test (IAT) is the most popular measure to evaluate implicit attitudes. Nevertheless, its neural correlates are not yet fully understood. We examined event related potentials (ERPs) in response to face- and word- processing while indigenous and non-indigenous participants performed an IAT displaying faces (ingroup and outgroup members) and words (positive and negative valence) as targets of category judgments. The N170 component was modulated by valence of words and by ingroup/outgroup face categorization. Contextual effects (face-words implicitly associated in (...) the task) had an influence on the N170 amplitude modulation. On the one hand, in face categorization, right N170 showed differences according to the association between social categories of faces and affective valence of words. On the other, in word categorization, left N170 presented a similar modulation when the task implied a negative valence associated with ingroup faces. Only indigenous participants showed a significant IAT effect and N170 differences. Our results demonstrate an early ERP blending of stimuli processing with both intergroup and evaluative contexts, suggesting an integration of contextual information related to intergroup attitudes during the early stages of word and face processing. To our knowledge, this is the first report of early ERPs during an ethnicity IAT, opening a new branch of exchange between social neuroscience and social psychology of attitudes. (shrink)
Evaluative processes have their roots in early evolutionary history, as survival is dependent on an organism’s ability to identify and respond appropriately to positive, rewarding or otherwise salubrious stimuli as well as to negative, noxious, or injurious stimuli. Consequently, evaluative processes are ubiquitous in the animal kingdom and are represented at multiple levels of the nervous system, including the lowest levels of the neuraxis. While evolution has sculpted higher level evaluative systems into complex and sophisticated information-processing networks, (...) they do not come to replace, but rather to interact with more primitive lower level representations. Indeed, there are basic features of the underlying neuroarchitectural plan for evaluative processes that are common across levels of organization—including that of evaluative bivalence. (shrink)
Martha Nussbaum subscribes to the view that our identity is an evaluative question determined by our common, deeply held beliefs about what is worthwhile in human life. In so doing, she asserts that for an account of ethics to have “philosophical power” it needs to be grounded in an account of human nature that is both evaluative and internal. I focus on Nussbaum's claim that personal identity has to include the necessary features of practical rationality and sociability. Although (...) Nussbaum puts forward self-validating arguments to prove that we cannot – on pain of pragmatic in consistency – dispute that practical rationality and sociability are necessary features of human life, it is my claim that her account is flawed. The nature of the relationship between ethics and human nature is the broader context to such debates. This paper raises questions regarding on the one hand, whether it is possible to found ethics in human nature and, on the other, what we are to make of accounts that turn on the assumption that identity is ethical, not meta physical. S. Afr. J. Philos. Vol.24(2) 2005: 87-96. (shrink)
Elqayam & Evans (E&E) argue that we should avoid evaluative normativity in our psychological theorizing. But there are two crucial issues lacking clarity in their presentation of evaluative normativity. One of them can be resolved through disambiguation, but the other points to a deeper problem: Evaluative normativity is too tightly-woven in our theorizing to be easily disentangled and discarded.
The problem of weakness of the will is often thought to arise because of an assumption that freely, deliberately and intentionally doing something must correspond to the agent's positive evaluation of doing that thing. In contemporary philosophy, a very common response to the problem of weakness has been to adopt the view that free, deliberate action does not need to correspond to any positive evaluation at all. Much of the support for this view has come from the difficulties the denial (...) of it has been thought togive rise to, both with respect to giving an account of weakness, as well as explaining the future-directed nature of intentions. In this paper I argue that most of these difficulties only arise for one particular version of the view that free, deliberate action must correspond to a positive evaluation, a version associated with Donald Davidson's account of weakness.However, another version of this view is possible, and I argue that it escapes the standard objections to the Davidsonian account. (shrink)
Within the interactivist, process approach to metaphysics, Bickhard (Social life and social knowledge: toward a process account of development. Lawrence Erlbaum, New York, 2008a; Topoi 27: 139–149, 2008b; New Ideas Psychol, in press) has developed a social ontology of persons that avoids many well-known philosophical difficulties concerning the genesis, development, and application of the rational and moral capabilities and responsibilities that characterize persons. Interactivism positions developing persons inside sets of social conventions within which they participate in their own constitution as (...) rational and moral agents who constantly transform themselves and their world. Following a description of Bickhard’s social ontology and an evaluation of its philosophical merits, two suggestions are offered with the intention of extending the explanatory reach of an interactivist ontology of persons. One of these suggestions concerns a recommended shift from processes of interaction and constructivism to processes of coordination and constitutionism. A second, related recommendation concerns the need for a more precise detailing of processes of coordinated constitution that explain the developing person’s embodied and enactive transformation from a social to a psychological being. (shrink)
People ordinarily make sense of their own behavior and that of others by invoking concepts like belief, desire, and intention. Philosophers refer to this network of concepts and related principles as 'folk psychology.' The prevailing view of folk psychology among philosophers of mind and psychologists is that it is a proto-scientific theory whose function is to explain and predict behavior.
I argue against the standard view that it is possible to describe extensionally different consequentialist theories by describing different evaluative focal points. I argue that for consequentialist purposes, the important sense of the word act must include all motives and side effects, and thus these things cannot be separated.
Those familiar with Ayn Rand's ethical writings may know that she discusses issues in metaethics, and that she defended the objectivity of morality during the heyday of early non-cognitivism. But neither her metaethics, in general, nor her views on moral objectivity, in particular, have received wide study. This article elucidates some aspects of her thought in these areas, focusing on Rand's conception of the way in which moral values serve a biologically based human need, and on her account of moral (...) values as both essentially practical and epistemically objective in a sense fundamentally continuous with the objectivity of science. The bearing of her epistemological writings on her ethical thought is emphasized throughout, and her epistemology is defended against a line of criticism inspired by John McDowell's criticism of the so-called. (shrink)