b>. The current essay introduces the guidance theory of representation, according to which the content and intentionality of representations can be accounted for in terms of the way they provide guidance for action. The guidance theory offers a way of fixing representational content that gives the causal and evolutionary history of the subject only an indirect (non-necessary) role, and an account of representational error, based on failure of action, that does not rely on any such notions as proper functions, ideal (...) conditions, or normal circumstances. Moreover, because the notion of error is defined in terms of failure of action, the guidance theory meets the. (shrink)
Feminist philosophy of religion as a subject of study has developed in recent years because of the identification and exposure of explicit sexism in much of the traditional philosophical thinking about religion. This struggle with a discipline shaped almost exclusively by men has led feminist philosophers to redress the problematic biases of gender, race, class and sexual orientation of the subject. Anderson and Clack bring together new and key writings on the core topics and approaches to this growing field. (...) Each essay exhibits a distinctive theoretical approach and appropriate insights from the fields of literature, theology, philosophy, gender and cultural studies. Beginning with a general introduction, part one explores important approaches to the feminist philosophy of religion, including psychoanalytic, poststructualist, postmetaphysical, and epistemological frameworks. In part two the authors survey significant topics including questions of divinity, embodiment, autonomy and spirituality, and religious practice. Supported by explanatory prefaces and an extensive bibliography which is organized thematically, Feminist Philosophy of Religion is an important resource for this new area of study. (shrink)
For the least the last 10 years, there has been growing interest in, and grow- ing evidence for, the intimate relations between more abstract or higher order cognition—such as reasoning, planning, and language use—and the more con- crete, immediate, or lower order operations of the perceptual and motor sys- tems that support seeing, feeling, moving, and manipulating. A sub-field of the larger research program in embodied cognition (Clark, 1997, 1998; Wilson, 2001; Anderson, 2003, 2007d, 2008; Gibbs, 2006), this work (...) has generally pro- ceeded under the banner of grounded cognition, and works to support the claim that thinking is inherently tied to—grounded in—perceiving and acting. Thus, Glenberg and Kaschak (2002) discuss “grounding language in action”; Gallese and Lakoff (2005) argue that concepts are “grounded in the sensory–motor sys- tem;” and Barsalou (1999) at various times talks of “grounding cognition in perception,” “grounding conceptual knowledge in modality-specific systems” (Barsalou et al., 2003), and most recently simply of “grounded cognition” (Barsalou, 2008). (shrink)
In this engaging book, Douglas Anderson begins with the assumption that philosophy—the Greek love of wisdom—is alive and well in American culture. At the same time, professional philosophy remains relatively invisible. Anderson traverses American life to find places in the wider culture where professional philosophy in the distinctively American tradition can strike up a conversation. How might American philosophers talk to us about our religious experience, or political engagement, or literature—or even, popular music? Anderson’s second aim is (...) to find places where philosophy happens in nonprofessional guises—cultural places such as country music, rock’n roll, and Beat literature. He not only enlarges the tradition of American philosophers such as John Dewey and William James by examining lesser-known figures such as Henry Bugbee and Thomas Davidson, but finds the theme and ideas of American philosophy in some unexpected places, such as the music of Hank Williams, Tammy Wynette, and Bruce Springsteen, and the writingsof Jack Kerouac.The idea of “philosophy Americana” trades on the emergent genre of “music Americana,” rooted in traditional themes and styles yet engaging our present experiences. The music is “popular” but not thoroughly driven by economic considerations, and Anderson seeks out an analogous role for philosophical practice, where philosophy and popular culture are co-adventurers in the life of ideas. Philosophy Americana takes seriously Emerson’s quest for the extraordinary in the ordinary and James’s belief that popular philosophy can still be philosophy. (shrink)
"The question for me is how can the human mind occur in the physical universe? We now know that the world is governed by physics. We now understand the way biology nestles comfortably within that. The issue is how will the mind do that as well?" Alan Newell, 4 December 1991, Carnegie Mellon University -/- The argument John Anderson gives in this book was inspired by the passage above, from the last lecture by one of the pioneers of cognitive (...) science. Alan Newell describes what, for him, is the pivotal question of scientific inquiry, and Anderson gives an answer that is emerging from the study of brain and behaviour. -/- Humans share the same basic cognitive architecture with all primates, but they have evolved abilities to exercise abstract control over cognition and process more complex relational patterns. The human cognitive architecture consists of a set of largely independent modules associated with different brain regions. This book discusses in detail how these various modules can combine to produce behaviors as varied as driving a car and solving an algebraic equation, but focuses principally on two of the modules: the declarative and procedural. The declarative module involves a memory system that, moment by moment, attempts to give each person the most appropriate possible window into his or her past. The procedural module involves a central system that strives to develop a set of productions that will enable the most adaptive response from any state of the modules. Newell argued that the answer to his question must take the form of a cognitive architecture, and Anderson organizes his answer around the ACT-R architecture, but broadens it by bringing in research from all areas of cognitive science, including how recent work in brain imaging maps onto the cognitive architecture. (shrink)
Newell (1980; 1990) proposed that cognitive theories be developed in an effort to satisfy multiple criteria and to avoid theoretical myopia. He provided two overlapping lists of 13 criteria that the human cognitive architecture would have to satisfy in order to be functional. We have distilled these into 12 criteria: flexible behavior, real-time performance, adaptive behavior, vast knowledge base, dynamic behavior, knowledge integration, natural language, learning, development, evolution, and brain realization. There would be greater theoretical progress if we evaluated theories (...) by a broad set of criteria such as these and attended to the weaknesses such evaluations revealed. To illustrate how theories can be evaluated we apply these criteria to both classical connectionism (McClelland & Rumelhart 1986; Rumelhart & McClelland 1986b) and the ACT-R theory (Anderson & Lebiere 1998). The strengths of classical connectionism on this test derive from its intense effort in addressing empirical phenomena in such domains as language and cognitive development. Its weaknesses derive from its failure to acknowledge a symbolic level to thought. In contrast, ACT-R includes both symbolic and subsymbolic components. The strengths of the ACT-R theory derive from its tight integration of the symbolic component with the subsymbolic component. Its weaknesses largely derive from its failure, as yet, to adequately engage in intensive analyses of issues related to certain criteria on Newell's list. Key Words: cognitive architecture; connectionism; hybrid systems; language; learning; symbolic systems. (shrink)
How do the ways we argue represent a practical philosophy or a way of life? Are concepts of character and ethos pertinent to our understanding of academic debate? In this book, Amanda Anderson analyzes arguments in literary, cultural, and political theory, with special attention to the ways in which theorists understand ideals of critical distance, forms of subjective experience, and the determinants of belief and practice. Drawing on the resources of the liberal and rationalist tradition, Anderson interrogates the (...) limits of identity politics and poststructuralism while holding to the importance of theory as a form of life. Considering high-profile trends as well as less noted patterns of argument, The Way We Argue Now addresses work in feminism, new historicism, queer theory, postcolonialism, cosmopolitanism, pragmatism, and proceduralism. The essays brought together here--lucid, precise, rigorously argued--combine pointed critique with an appreciative assessment of the productive internal contests and creative developments across these influential bodies of thought. Ultimately, The Way We Argue Now promotes a revitalized culture of argument through a richer understanding of the ways critical reason is practiced at the individual, collective, and institutional levels. Bringing to the fore the complexities of academic debate while shifting the terms by which we assess the continued influence of theory, it will appeal to readers interested in political theory, literary studies, cultural studies, gender studies, and the place of academic culture in society and politics. (shrink)
Verbin, N., Divinely abused: a philosophical perspective on Job and his kin Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11153-010-9262-5 Authors A. K. Anderson, Department of Religion, Wofford College, 429 N. Church St., Spartanburg, SC 29303, USA Journal International Journal for Philosophy of Religion Online ISSN 1572-8684 Print ISSN 0020-7047.
Part of understanding the functional organization of the brain is understanding how it evolved. This talk presents evidence suggesting that while the brain may have originally emerged as an organ with functionally dedicated regions, the creative re-use of these regions has played a significant role in its evolutionary development. This would parallel the evolution of other capabilities wherein existing structures, evolved for other purposes, are re-used and built upon in the course of continuing evolutionary development (“exaptation”: Gould & Vrba 1982). (...) There is psychological support for exaptation in cognition (e.g. Cosmides 1989), theoretical reason to expect it (Anderson 2003; in press-a; in press-b) and neuroanatomic evidence that the brain evolved by preserving, extending, and combining existing network components, rather than by generating complex structures de novo (Sporns & Kötter 2004). However, there has been little evidence that integrates these perspectives, bringing such an account of the evolution of cognitive function into the realm of cognitive neuroscience (although see, e.g., Barsalou 1999). (shrink)
'With this scheme, John Anderson joins a very distinguished line of philosophers who have presented us with a set of categories. We have first Plato (the doctrine of Highest Kinds in his dialogue The Sophist), then Aristotle, Kant, Hegel, and Samuel Alexander.' - D. M. Armstrong, from the introduction. Space, Time and the Categories presents a unique record of personal influence and inspiration over three generations of philosophers in Australia, England and Scotland. This work is a vitally important text (...) in the history of the development of realist philosophy in Australian universities. With an introduction by Emeritus Professor D M Armstrong whose own student notes are the basis for the text used, this book brings together three of the major figures in the history of Australian philosophy. (shrink)
In barely the space of one generation, Athens was transformed from a conventional city-state into something completely new--a region-state on a scale previously unthinkable. This book sets out to answer a seemingly simple question: How and when did the Athenian state attain the anomalous size that gave it such influence in Greek politics and culture in the classical period? Many scholars argue that Athens's incorporation of Attica was a gradual development, largely completed some two hundred years before the classical era. (...)Anderson, however, suggests that it is not until the late sixth century that we see the first systematic attempts by the Athenian polis to integrate all of Attica. Anderson first takes issue with the prevailing view of Cleisthenes' landmark political reforms of 508-7 b.c., arguing that they were animated by a more comprehensive vision of regional political community in Attica. The Athenians' strengthened the state by establishing institutional mechanisms that would allow inhabitants of the Attic periphery to participate as never before in the life of the center. The creation of a suitable physical setting for the new order was accompanied by religious, military, and symbolic innovations. Regional participation in Athenian affairs was stimulated by encouraging the Attic populace to imagine themselves, for the first time ever, as members of a single, like-minded, self-governing political community. Greg Anderson is Assistant Professor of Classics and History, University of Illinois at Chicago. (shrink)
This essay examines the role of data and program?code archives in making economic research ?replicable.? Replication of published results is recognized as an essential part of the scientific method. Yet, historically, both the ?demand for? and ?supply of? replicable results in economics has been minimal. ?Respect for the scientific method? is not sufficient to motivate either economists or editors of professional journals to ensure the replicability of published results. We enumerate the costs and benefits of mandatory data and code archives, (...) and argue that the benefits far exceed the costs. Progress has been made since the gloomy assessment of Dewald, Thursby and Anderson some 20 years ago in the American Economic Review, but much remains to be done before empirical economics ceases to be a ?dismal science? when judged by the replicability of its published results. (shrink)
The Saami assert that "to move on is better than to stay put" (jot'tit lea buorit go orrot). The senior (in more ways than one) author, Myrdene Anderson, found as a Saami ethnographer that her life history resonated well with this Saami philosophy. In addition, Anderson had adopted from her own heritage the adage that "one can't hit a moving target". The Saami would also be comfortable with that formula. Together, one might minimally collapse and paraphrase both adages (...) as: "a rolling agent invests in the moment". Devika Chawla, the junior author, interrogates Anderson in nuancing this philosophy. To what degree is our research overdetermined and underdetermined by such factors as life history, culture, personality, and narrative reflections? The inquiry proceeds to unpack the opacities and transparencies in semiosic constructions. (shrink)
Heikki Ikäheimo and Arto Laitinen (eds), Recognition and Social Ontology Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 134-137 Authors Sybol Cook Anderson, St. Mary's College of Maryland, USA Journal Critical Horizons: A Journal of Philosophy & Social Theory Online ISSN 1568-5160 Print ISSN 1440-9917 Journal Volume Volume 13 Journal Issue Volume 13, Number 1 / 2012.
In this book Deland S. Anderson traces the origin of the idea, "God is dead," in the philosophy of G.W.F. Hegel. Focusing on issues of language, life, and learning, Anderson presents an integrated perspective on the death of God in Hegel's philosophy as it emerged in the early years at Jena. He argues that Hegel's pronouncement of the death of God was the beginning of his radically innovative system of speculative discourse, which revolutionized not only philosophy byt the (...) wider culture as well. (shrink)
Metaphysics and language: Quine, W. V. O. On the individuation of attributes. Körner, S. On some relations between logic and metaphysics. Marcus, R. B. Does the principle of substitutivity rest on a mistake? Van Fraassen, B. C. Platonism's pyrrhic victory. Martin, R. M. On some prepositional relations. Kearns, J. T. Sentences and propositions.--Basic and combinatorial logic: Orgass, R. J. Extended basic logic and ordinal numbers. Curry, H. B. Representation of Markov algorithms by combinators.--Implication and consistency: Anderson, A. R. Fitch (...) on consistency. Belnap, N. D., Jr. Grammatical propaedeutic. Thomason, R. H. Decidability in the logic of conditionals. Myhill, J. Levels of implication.--Deontic, epistemic, and erotetic logic: Bacon, J. Belief as relative knowledge. Wu, K. J. Believing and disbelieving. Kordig, C. R. Relativized deontic modalities. Harrah, D. A system for erotetic sentences. (shrink)
I investigate the consequences of Nietzsche's perspectivism for notions of truth and objectivity, and show how the metaphor of visual perspective motivates an epistemology that avoids self-referential difficulties. Perspectivism's claim that every view is only one view, applied to itself, is often supposed to preclude the perspectivist's ability to offer reasons for her epistemology. Nietzsche's arguments for perspectivism depend on “internal reasons”, which have force not only in their own perspective, but also within the standards of alternative perspectives. Internal reasons (...) allow a perspectivist argument against dogmatism without presupposing aperspectival criteria for theory choice. Nietzsche also offers “internal” conceptions of truth and objectivity which reduce them to a matter of meeting our epistemic standards. This view has pluralistic implications, which conflict with common sense, but it is nevertheless consistent and plausible. Nietzsche's position is similar to Putnam's recent internalism, and this is due to their common Kantian heritage. (shrink)
The nature of cognition is being re-considered. Instead of emphasizing formal operations on abstract symbols, the new approach foregrounds the fact that cognition is, rather, a situated activity, and suggests that thinking beings ought therefore be considered first and foremost as acting beings. The essay reviews recent work in Embodied Cognition, provides a concise guide to its principles, attitudes and goals, and identifies the physical grounding project as its central research focus.
I defend Kant’s definition of analyticity in terms of concept “containment”, which has engendered widespread scepticism. Kant deployed a clear, technical notion of containment based on ideas standard within traditional logic, notably genus/species hierarchies formed via logical division. Kant’s analytic/synthetic distinction thereby undermines the logico-metaphysical system of Christian Wolff, showing that the Wolffian paradigm lacks the expressive power even to represent essential knowledge, including elementary mathematics, and so cannot provide an adequate system of philosophy. The results clarify the extent to (...) which analyticity sensu Kant can illuminate the problem of a priori knowledge generally. (shrink)
The concept of preference dominates economic theory today. It performs a triple duty for economists, grounding their theories of individual behavior, welfare, and rationality. Microeconomic theory assumes that individuals act so as to maximize their utility – that is, to maximize the degree to which their preferences are satisfied. Welfare economics defines individual welfare in terms of preference satisfaction or utility, and social welfare as a function of individual preferences. Finally, economists assume that the rational act is the act that (...) maximally satisfies an individual's preferences. The habit of framing problems in terms of the concept of preference is now so entrenched that economists rarely entertain alternatives. (shrink)
Many problems of inequality in developing countries resist treatment by formal egalitarian policies. To deal with these problems, we must shift from a distributive to a relational conception of equality, founded on opposition to social hierarchy. Yet the production of many goods requires the coordination of wills by means of commands. In these cases, egalitarians must seek to tame rather than abolish hierarchy. I argue that bureaucracy offers important constraints on command hierarchies that help promote the equality of workers in (...) bureaucratic organizations. Bureaucracy thus constitutes a vital if limited egalitarian tool applicable to developing and developed countries alike. (shrink)
Epicurus emphatically asserts the veracity of perception, including visual perception, yet most of the literature on Epicurus’ atomistic theory of vision pays scant attention to what Epicurus believed transpires outside the body that leads to it. The treatments by DeWitt, Everson, Hicks, and Rist are all very brief; Glidden focuses primarily on the processes occurring inside the perceiver; and while the discussions by Asmis and Bailey are more detailed, they hardly more than note in passing that the process is problematic.1 (...) In this paper I will critically examine Epicurus’ theory of vision, in particular his theory of the events occurring between perceived objects and the eye. I will argue that while certain common objections to Epicurus’ theory may be answerable, it nevertheless suffers from serious problems. These problems, in turn, occur on two levels. On the mechanical level, it demands that dissimilar atomic complexes behave in strikingly similar ways. And on the theoretical level, there is tension created by the need for the intermediary between objects and the observer to be both like objects and unlike them. (shrink)
Th is paper investigates the epistemic powers of democratic institutions through an assessment of three epistemic models of democracy: the Condorcet Jury Th eorem, the Diversity Trumps Ability Th eorem, and Dewey's experimentalist model. Dewey's model is superior to the others in its ability to model the epistemic functions of three constitutive features of democracy: the epistemic diversity of participants, the interaction of voting with discussion, and feedback mechanisms such as periodic elections and protests. It views democracy as an institution (...) for pooling widely distributed information about problems and policies of public interest by engaging the participation of epistemically diverse knowers. Democratic norms of free discourse, dissent, feedback, and accountability function to ensure collective, experimentallybased learning from the diverse experiences of diff erent knowers. I illustrate these points with a case study of community forestry groups in South Asia, whose epistemic powers have been hobbled by their suppression of women's participation. (shrink)
: The underdetermination argument establishes that scientists may use political values to guide inquiry, without providing criteria for distinguishing legitimate from illegitimate guidance. This paper supplies such criteria. Analysis of the confused arguments against value-laden science reveals the fundamental criterion of illegitimate guidance: when value judgments operate to drive inquiry to a predetermined conclusion. A case study of feminist research on divorce reveals numerous legitimate ways that values can guide science without violating this standard.
Moral intuitions, while ubiquitous in moral reasoning, have been the cause of considerable controversy in philosophy. My purpose here is to describe the most reasonable role for intuitions in moral theory, in order to look at some problems that arise, particularly for theories of justice, when intuitions are presumed to have this role.
This paper presents a feminist intervention into debates concerning the relation between human subjects and a divine ideal. I turn to what Irigarayan feminists challenge as a masculine conception of âthe Godâs eye viewâ of reality. This ideal functions not only in philosophy of religion, but in ethics, politics, epistemology and philosophy of science: it is given various names from âthe competent judgeâ to the âthe ideal observerâ (IO) whose view is either from nowhere or everywhere. The question is whether, (...) as Taliaferro contends, my own philosophical argument inevitably appeals to the impartiality and omni-attributes of the IO. This paper was delivered during the APA Pacific 2007 Mini-Conference on Models of God. (shrink)
As part of the ongoing attempt to fully naturalize the concept of human being--and, more specifically, to re-center it around the notion of agency--this essay discusses an approach to defining the content of representations in terms ultimately derived from their central, evolved function of providing guidance for action. This 'guidance theory' of representation is discussed in the context of, and evaluated with respect to, two other biologically inspired theories of representation: Dan Lloyd's dialectical theory of representation and Ruth Millikan's biosemantics.
One of liberalism’s core commitments is to safeguarding individuals’ autonomy. And a central aspect of liberal social justice is the commitment to protecting the vulnerable. Taken together, and combined with an understanding of autonomy as an acquired set of capacities to lead one’s own life, these commitments suggest that liberal societies should be especially concerned to address vulnerabilities of individuals regarding the development and maintenance of their autonomy. In this chapter, we develop an account of what it would mean for (...) a society to take seriously the obligation to reduce individuals’ autonomy-related vulnerabilities to an acceptable minimum. In particular, we argue that standard liberal accounts underestimate the scope of this obligation because they fail to appreciate various threats to autonomy. (shrink)
Amartya Sen’s ethical theorizing helps feminists resolve the tensions between the claims of women’s particular perspectives and moral objectivity. His concept of ‘‘positional objectivity’’ highlights the epistemological significance of value judgments made from particular social positions, while holding that certain values may become widely shared. He shows how acknowledging positionality is consistent with affirming the universal value of democracy. This article builds on Sen’s work by proposing an analysis of democracy as a set of institutions that aims to intelligently utilize (...) positional information for shared ends. This epistemological analysis of democracy offers a way to understand the rationale for reserving political offices for women. From a political point of view, gendered positions are better thought of as an epistemological resource than as a ground of identity politics – that is, of parochial identification and solidarity. (shrink)
In ‘The Presuppositions of Religious Pluralism and the Need for Natural Theology’ I argue that there are four important presuppositions behind John Hick’s form of religious pluralism that successfully support it against what I call fideistic exclusivism. These are i) the ought/can principle, ii) the universality of religious experience, iii) the universality of redemptive change, and iv) a view of how God (the Eternal) would do things. I then argue that if these are more fully developed they support a different (...) kind of exclusivism, what I call rational exclusivism, and become defeaters for pluralism. In order to explain rational exclusivism and its dependence on these presuppositions I consider philosophers J.P. Moreland, William Lane Craig, and Alvin Plantinga, who offer arguments for their forms of exclusivism but I maintain that they continue to rely on fideism at important points. I then give an example of how knowledge of the Eternal can be achieved. (shrink)
Officially, for Kant, judgments are analytic iff the predicate is "contained in" the subject. I defend the containment definition against the common charge of obscurity, and argue that arithmetic cannot be analytic, in the resulting sense. My account deploys two traditional logical notions: logical division and concept hierarchies. Division separates a genus concept into exclusive, exhaustive species. Repeated divisions generate a hierarchy, in which lower species are derived from their genus, by adding differentia(e). Hierarchies afford a straightforward sense of containment: (...) genera are contained in the species formed from them. Kant's thesis then amounts to the claim that no concept hierarchy conforming to division rules can express truths like '7+5=12.' Kant is correct. Operation concepts ( ) bear two relations to number concepts: and are inputs, is output. To capture both relations, hierarchies must posit overlaps between concepts that violate the exclusion rule. Thus, such truths are synthetic. (shrink)
It has been argued - most prominently in Harry Frankfurt's recent work - that the normative authority of personal commitments derives not from their intrinsic worth but from the way in which one's will is invested in what one cares about. In this essay, I argue that even if this approach is construed broadly and supplemented in various ways, its intrasubjective character leaves it ill-prepared to explain the normative grip of commitments in cases of purported self-betrayal. As an alternative, I (...) sketch a view that focuses on intersubjective constraints of intelligibility built into social practices and on the pragmatics of how those norms are contested in an ongoing fashion. (shrink)
Abstract: The massive redeployment hypothesis (MRH) is a theory about the functional topography of the human brain, offering a middle course between strict localization on the one hand, and holism on the other. Central to MRH is the claim that cognitive evolution proceeded in a way analogous to component reuse in software engineering, whereby existing components-originally developed to serve some specific purpose-were used for new purposes and combined to support new capacities, without disrupting their participation in existing programs. If the (...) evolution of cognition was indeed driven by such exaptation, then we should be able to make some specific empirical predictions regarding the resulting functional topography of the brain. This essay discusses three such predictions, and some of the evidence supporting them. Then, using this account as a background, the essay considers the implications of these findings for an account of the functional integration of cognitive operations. For instance, MRH suggests that in order to determine the functional role of a given brain area it is necessary to consider its participation across multiple task categories, and not just focus on one, as has been the typical practice in cognitive neuroscience. This change of methodology will motivate (even perhaps necessitate) the development of a new, domain-neutral vocabulary for characterizing the contribution of individual brain areas to larger functional complexes, and direct particular attention to the question of how these various area roles are integrated and coordinated to result in the observed cognitive effect. Finally, the details of the mix of cognitive functions a given area supports should tell us something interesting not just about the likely computational role of that area, but about the nature of and relations between the cognitive functions themselves. For instance, growing evidence of the role of “motor” areas like M1, SMA and PMC in language processing, and of “language” areas like Broca’s area in motor control, offers the possibility for significantly reconceptualizing the nature both of language and of motor control. (shrink)
In this paper, I examine two versions of the so-called “hierarchical” approach to personal autonomy, based on the notion of “second-order desires”. My primary concern will be with the question of whether these approaches provide an adequate basis for understanding the dynamics of autonomy-ascription. I begin by distinguishing two versions of the hierarchical approach, each representing a different response to the oft-discussed “regress” objection. I then argue that both “structural hierarchicalism” (e.g., Frankfurt, Bratman) and “procedural hierarchicalism” (e.g., Dworkin, Christman, Mele) (...) have difficulties accommodating the dynamics of how the attribution of autonomy to persons is claimed, disputed, and resolved. Although they differ in details, both shortcomings can be traced to viewing autonomy as a metaphysical rather than a normative, practical matter. I conclude by suggesting that these difficulties underscore the advantages of a more constructivist and pragmatist. (shrink)
In a recent article, Dale Tuggy argues that the two most favoured approaches to explicating the doctrine of the Trinity, Social Trinitarianism and Latin Trinitarianism, are unsatisfactory on either logical or biblical grounds. Moreover, he contends that appealing to ‘mystery’ in the face of apparent contradiction is rationally and theologically unacceptable. I raise some critical questions about Tuggy's assessment of the most relevant biblical data, before defending against his objections the rationality of an appeal to mystery in the face of (...) theological paradox. (shrink)
I look at a recent argument offered in defense of a doctrine which I will call generalized scientific essentialism. This is the doctrine according to which, not only are some facts about substance composition metaphysically necessary, but, in addition, some facts about substance behavior are metaphysically necessary. More specifically, so goes the argument, not only is water necessarily composed of H2O and salt is necessarily composed of NaCl, but, in addition, salt necessarily dissolves in water. If this argument is sound, (...) and if the statement that necessarily salt dissolves in water is a statement of a law of nature, then one conclusion of the argument is that there is at least one metaphysically necessary law of nature. My paper examines the extent to which this kind of argument could be generalized to provide a case for a full-blown scientific essentialism: the doctrine according to which all of the laws of nature are necessary. Or, in terms of dispositions, it is the doctrine according to which natural kinds have all of their powers, capacities and propensities as a matter of necessity. (shrink)
In response to the difficulty of teaching an increasingly large number of students who are ill prepared for the sort of abstract thinking and well-structured essay writing that are essential to the field of Philosophy, I have discovered a five-step method for teaching students in my Philosophy and Social Ethics course how to examine any ethical issue and write well-structured essays discussing the issue. Just as important, students are now required to take more responsibility for the learning process which, I (...) believe, is an appropriate goal for a course in Ethics. (shrink)
There is a long and storied history of debates over 'realism' that has touched literally every academic discipline. Yet realism- antirealism debates play a relatively minor role in the contemporary study of consciousness. In this paper four basic varieties of realism and antirealism are explored (existential, epistemological, semantic, and ontological) and their potential impact on the study of consciousness is considered. Reasons are offered to explain why there is not more debate over these issues, including a discussion of the powerful (...) influence of externalist versions of physicalist realism. Examples are given of approaches to consciousness studies that challenge contemporary versions of physicalist realism. (shrink)
Pressuring someone into having sex would seem to differ in significant ways from pressuring someone into investing in one’s business or buying an expensive bauble. In affirming this claim, I take issue with a recent essay by Sarah Conly (‘Seduction, Rape, and Coercion’, Ethics, October 2004), who thinks that pressuring into sex can be helpfully evaluated by analogy to these other instances of using pressure. Drawing upon work by Alan Wertheimer, the leading theorist of coercion, she argues that so long (...) as pressuring does not amount to coercing someone into having sex, her consent to sex answers the important ethical questions about it. In this essay, I argue that to understand the real significance of pressuring into sex, we need to appeal to background considerations, especially the male-dominant gender hierarchy, which renders sexual pressuring different from its non-sexual analogues. Treating pressure to have sex like any other sort of interpersonal pressure obscures the role such sexual pressure might play in supporting gender hierarchy, and fails to explain why pressure by men against women is more problematic than pressure by women against men. I suggest that men pressuring women to have sex differs from the reverse case because of at least two factors: (1) gendered social institutions which add to the pressures against women, and (2) the greater likelihood that men, not women, will use violence if denied, and the lesser ability of women compared to men to resist such violence without harm. (shrink)
b>. Recent findings in cognitive science suggest that the epistemic subject is more complex and epistemically porous than is generally pictured. Human knowers are open to the world via multiple channels, each operating for particular purposes and according to its own logic. These findings need to be understood and addressed by the philosophical community. The current essay argues that one consequence of the new findings is to invalidate certain arguments for epistemic anti-realism.
This essay introduces the massive redeployment hypothesis, an account of the functional organization of the brain that centrally features the fact that brain areas are typically employed to support numerous functions. The central contribution of the essay is to outline a middle course between strict localization on the one hand, and holism on the other, in such a way as to account for the supporting data on both sides of the argument. The massive redeployment hypothesis is supported by case studies (...) of redeployment, and compared and contrasted with other theories of the localization of function. (shrink)
John Dewey (1859-1952) lived from the Civil War to the Cold War, a period of extraordinary social, economic, demographic, political and technological change. During his lifetime the United States changed from a rural to an urban society, from an agricultural to an industrial economy, from a regional to a world power. It emancipated its slaves, but subjected them to white supremacy. It absorbed millions of immigrants from Europe and Asia, but faced wrenching conflicts between capital and labor as they were (...) integrated into the urban industrial economy. It granted women the vote, but resisted their full integration into educational and economic institutions. As the face-to-face communal life of small villages and towns waned, it confronted the need to create new forms of community life capable of sustaining democracy on urban and national scales. Dewey believed that neither traditional moral norms nor traditional philosophical ethics were up to the task of coping with the problems raised by these dramatic transformations. Traditional morality was adapted to conditions that no longer existed. Hidebound and unreflective, it was incapable of changing so as to effectively address the problems raised by new circumstances. Traditional philosophical ethics sought to discover and justify fixed moral goals and principles by dogmatic methods. Its preoccupation with reducing the diverse sources of moral insight to a single fixed principle subordinated practical service to ordinary people to the futile search for certainty, stability, and simplicity. In practice, both traditional morality and philosophical ethics served the interests of elites at the expense of most people. To address the problems raised by social change, moral practice needed to be thoroughly reconstructed, so that it contained within itself the disposition to respond intelligently to new circumstances. Dewey saw his reconstruction of philosophical ethics as a means to effect this practical reconstruction. (shrink)
In: B. Hardy-Vallee & N. Payette, eds. Beyond the brain: embodied, situated & distributed cognition. (Cambridge: Cambridge Scholar’s Press), in press. Abstract: In this article, I do three main things: 1. First, I introduce an approach to the mind motivated primarily by evolutionary considerations. I do that by laying out four principles for the study of the mind from an evolutionary perspective, and four predictions that they suggest. This evolutionary perspective is completely compatible with, although broader than, the embodied cognition (...) approach. 2. Then I look at one prediction in depth, the idea that the brain evolved by exaptation–reusing exiting functional units, and combining them in novel ways to generate new cognitive capacities. 3. Finally, I try to lay out some of the implications, both of the in-depth example, and of the more general approach. (shrink)
the arguments in their favour are weak. Arguments based on reciprocity fail to explain why only means-tested public benefits should be subject to work requirements, and why unpaid dependant care work should not count as satisfying citizens’ obligations to reciprocate. Argu- ments based on promoting the work ethic misattribute recipients’ nonwork to deviant values, when their core problem is finding steady employment consistent with supporting a family and meeting dependant care responsibilities. Rigid work requirements impose unreasonable costs on some of (...) the poor. A welfare system based on a rebuttable presumption that recipients will work for pay, conjoined with more generous work supports, would promote justice better than either unconditional welfare or strict requirements . (shrink)
This paper evaluates the economic assumptions of economic theory via an examination of the capitalist transformation of creditor–debtor relations in the 18th century. This transformation enabled masses of people to obtain credit without moral opprobrium or social subordination. Classical 18th century economics had the ethical concepts to appreciate these facts. Ironically, contemporary economic theory cannot. I trace this fault to its abstract representations of freedom, efficiency, and markets. The virtues of capitalism lie in the concrete social relations and social meanings (...) through which capital and commodities are exchanged. Contrary to laissez faire capitalism, the conditions for sustaining these concrete capitalist formations require limits on freedom of contract and the scope of private property rights. (shrink)
This paper is a summary and evaluation of work presented at the AAAI 2005 Fall Symposium on Machine Ethics that brought together participants from the fields of Computer Science and Philosophy to the end of clarifying the nature of this newly emerging field and discussing different approaches one could take towards realizing the ultimate goal of creating an ethical machine.
Fractal time fluctuations of the spectral “1/f” form are universal in natural self-organizing systems. Neurobiology is uniquely infused with fractal fluctuations in the form of statistically self-similar clusters or bursts on all levels of description from molecular events such as protein chain fluctuations, ion channel currents and synaptic processes to the behaviors of neural ensembles or the collective behavior of Internet users. It is the thesis of this essay that the brain self-organizes via a vertical collation of these spontaneous events (...) in order to perceive the world and generate adaptive behaviors. REM sleep, which coalesces from self-similar clusters of burst-within-burst behavior during ontogeny, is essential to cognitive-emotional function, and has recurrent fractal organization. Empirical fMRI observations further support the association of fractal fluctuations in the temporal lobes, brainstem and cerebellum during the expression of emotional memory, spontaneous fluctuations of thought and meditative practice. Cognitive-emotional integration arises as amygdaloid-brainstem-cerebellar systems harmonize the vertical “1/f” symphony of coupled isochronous cortical oscillations in the pursuit of mindfulness. (shrink)
In this paper, the authors discuss Frege''s theory of logical objects (extensions, numbers, truth-values) and the recent attempts to rehabilitate it. We show that the eta relation George Boolos deployed on Frege''s behalf is similar, if not identical, to the encoding mode of predication that underlies the theory of abstract objects. Whereas Boolos accepted unrestricted Comprehension for Properties and used the eta relation to assert the existence of logical objects under certain highly restricted conditions, the theory of abstract objects uses (...) unrestricted Comprehension for Logical Objects and banishes encoding (eta) formulas from Comprehension for Properties. The relative mathematical and philosophical strengths of the two theories are discussed. Along the way, new results in the theory of abstract objects are described, involving: (a) the theory of extensions, (b) the theory of directions and shapes, and (c) the theory of truth values. (shrink)
A symbol is a pattern (of physical marks, electromagnetic energy, etc.) which denotes, designates, or otherwise has meaning. The notion that intelligence requires the use and manipulation of symbols, and that humans are therefore symbol systems, has been extremely in uential in arti cial intelligence.