In works of literary fiction, it is a part of the fiction that the words of the text are being recounted by some work-internal 'voice': the literary narrator. One can ask similarly whether the story in movies is told in sights and sounds by a work-internal subjectivity that orchestrates them: a cinematic narrator. George M. Wilson argues that movies do involve a fictional recounting (an audio-visual narration ) in terms of the movie's sound and image track. Viewers are usually (...) prompted to imagine seeing the items and events in the movie's fictional world and to imagine hearing the associated fictional sounds. However, it is much less clear that the cinematic narration must be imagined as the product of some kind of 'narrator' - of a work-internal agent of the narration. Wilson goes on to examine the further question whether viewers imagine seeing the fictional world face-to-face or whether they imagine seeing it through some kind of work-internal mediation . It is a key contention of this book that only the second of these alternatives allows one to give a coherent account of what we do and do not imagine about what we are seeing on the screen. Having provided a partial account of the foundations of film narration, the final chapters explore the ways in which certain complex strategies of cinematic narration are executed in three exemplary films: David Fincher's Fight Club , von Sternberg's The Scarlet Empress , and the Coen brothers' The Man Who Wasn't There. (shrink)
Chalmers and Jackson (2001) offer an epistemic interpretation of the two-dimensional semantic framework advanced by Kaplan (1979, 1989), Stalnaker (1978), and others. Epistemic two-dimensional semantics (E2D) aims to re-forge the link between necessity and a priority seemingly broken by Kripke (1972/1980). On the E2D strategy, a priori knowledge of certain semantic intensions provides a route to a priori knowledge of a wide range of modal truths---nice outcome, if we can get it. E2D faces the serious challenge, however, that we typically (...) don't have even in-principle a priori access to the intensions at issue (Byrne and Pryor 2006, Melnyk 2001; see also Wilson 1982). As we substantiate, the "access-based challenge" to Chalmers and Jackson's version of E2D is successful; but the problem here isn't for E2D per se, but rather to E2D interpreted as appealing to a conceiving-based epistemology of intensions. Here we develop a version of E2D appealing to abduction rather than conceivability. We argue that abduction gives rise to beliefs that are reasonably taken to be a priori; and we show that E2D when combined with an abductive epistemology of intensions---that is, abductive two-dimensionalism---can successfully respond to the access-based challenge. We finish up with a case study, involving zombies and the mind-body problem, illustrating how the two versions of E2D may differ in application. (shrink)
I argue that an adequate account of non-reductive realization must guarantee satisfaction of a certain condition on the token causal powers associated with (instances of) realized and realizing entities---namely, what I call the 'Subset Condition on Causal Powers' (first introduced in Wilson 1999). In terms of states, the condition requires that the token powers had by a realized state on a given occasion be a proper subset of the token powers had by the state that realizes it on that (...) occasion. Accounts of non-reductive realization conforming to this condition are implementing what I call 'the powers-based subset strategy'. I focus on the crucial case involving mental and brain states; the results may be generalized, as appropriate. I ﬁrst situate and motivate the strategy by attention to the problem of mental causation; I make the case, in schematic terms, that implementation of the strategy makes room (contra Kim 1989, 1993, 1998, and elsewhere) for mental states to be ontologically and causally autonomous from their realizing physical states, without inducing problematic causal overdetermination, and compatible with both Physicalism and Non-reduction; and I show that several contemporary accounts of non-reductive realization (in terms of functional realization, parthood, and the determinable/determinate relation) are plausibly seen as implementing the strategy. As I also show, implementation of the powers-based strategy does not require endorsement of any particular accounts of either properties or causation---indeed, a categoricalist contingentist Humean can implement the strategy. The schematic location of the strategy in the space of available responses to the problem of mental (more generally, higher-level) causation, as well as the fact that the schema may be metaphysically instantiated, strongly suggests that the strategy is, appropriately generalized and instantiated, sufficient and moreover necessary for non-reductive realization. I go on to defend the sufficiency and necessity claims against a variety of objections, considering, along the way, how the powers-based subset strategy fares against competing accounts of purportedly non-reductive realization in terms of supervenience, token identity, and constitution. (shrink)
Do component forces exist in conjoined circumstances? Cartwright (1980) says no; Creary (1981) says yes. I'm inclined towards Cartwright's side in this matter, but find several problems with her argumentation. My primary aim here is to present a better, distinctly causal, argument against component forces: very roughly, I argue that the joint posit of component and resultant forces in conjoined circumstances gives rise to a threat of causal overdetermination, avoidance of which best proceeds via eliminativism about component forces. A secondary (...) aim is to show that rejecting component forces does not require, pace Cartwright, rejecting certain attractive theses about what laws of nature express and the role such laws play in scientific explanations. (shrink)
We suggest that anecdotes have evidentiary value in interpreting nonhuman primate behavior. We also believe that any outcome from the experiments proposed by Heyes can be interpreted as a product of previous experience with trainers or as associative learning using the experimental cues. No potential outcome is clearcut evidence for or against the theory of mind proposition.
***NOTE: April 2013 version contains discussion of whether Grounding is needed to fix direction of priority between non-fundamental goings-on.*** It has recently been suggested that a distinctive relation or relations of "Grounding" is ultimately at issue in contexts where some goings-on are claimed to, e.g., hold "in virtue of"" or be "less fundamental than", "metaphysically dependent on", or "nothing over and above" some others (see Fine 2001, Schaffer 2009, and Rosen 2010). Grounding is supposed to do good work (better than (...) merely modal notions, in particular) in illuminating metaphysical dependence. I argue that Grounding is also too coarse-grained to do this work, eliding important differences in such dependence. There is no avoiding the need for specific metaphysical relations capable of making more fine-grained discriminations, since one cannot assess relative dependence relations without having some idea of whether the dependent goings-on are reducible to the base goings-on, are efficacious vis-a-vis the latter, and so on. Once the specific relations are on the scene, however, there is no need for Grounding. Nor, I argue, is Grounding needed as a metaphysical, terminological or formal unifier of the specific grounding relations. Even if there were such unity, that in itself wouldn't motivate the posit of a distinctive (much less primitive) Grounding relation; moreover, there is little such unity. (shrink)
Hume's Dictum (HD) says, roughly and typically, that there are no metaphysically necessary connections between distinct, intrinsically typed, entities. HD plays an influential role in metaphysical debate, both in constructing theories and in assessing them. One should ask of such an influential thesis: why believe it? Proponents do not accept Hume's arguments for his dictum, nor do they provide their own; however, some have suggested either that HD is analytic or that it is synthetic a priori (that is: motivated by (...) intuitions we have no good reason to question). Here I explore whether belief in HD is directly justified on either grounds. I motivate and present more formal characterizations of HD; I show that there are good prima facie cases to be made for HD's being analytic and for its being synthetic a priori; I argue that each of the prima facie cases fails, some things considered. I close by offering two suggestions for how belief in HD might be indirectly justified on argumentative grounds. (shrink)
Contemporary philosophers commonly suppose that any fundamental entities there may be are maximally determinate. More generally, they commonly suppose that, whether or not there are fundamental entities, any determinable entities there may be are grounded in, hence less fundamental than, more determinate entities. So, for example, Armstrong takes the physical objects constituting the presumed fundamental base to be “determinate in all respects” (1961, 59), and Lewis takes the properties characterizing things “completely and without redundancy” to be “highly specific” (1986, 60). (...) Here I look at the usually cited reasons for these suppositions as directed against the case of determinable properties, in particular, and argue that none is compelling (Sections 1 to 3). The discussion in Section 3 moreover identifies positive reason for taking some determinable properties to be part of a fundamental (or relatively fundamental) base. I close (Section 4) by noting certain questions arising from the possibility of fundamental determinables, as directions for future research. (shrink)
Note: some of the content of this paper, though not organized in this form, will enter into a book-in-progress, _Metaphysical Emergence_. Nearly all accounts of emergence take this to involve both broadly synchronic dependence and (some measure of) ontological and causal autonomy. Beyond this agreement, however, accounts of emergence diverge into a bewildering variety, reﬂecting that the core notions of dependence and autonomy have multiple, often incompatible interpretations. Luckily for philosophical purposes, however, much of this apparent diversity is superficial---or so (...) I argue in this paper. I start by considering a notorious problematic associated with special science entities---namely, the problem of higher-level causation (a generalization of the problem of mental causation). As we will see, of the various strategies for addressing this problem there are two which plausibly accommodate both the dependence and the ontological and causal autonomy of special science entities. -/- These strategies in turn suggest two distinct schema for metaphysical emergence, which I call 'Weak' and 'Strong' emergence, respectively. The two schema are similar in that each imposes a (different, specific) condition on the powers of entities taken to be emergent, relative to the powers of their dependence base entities. (Importantly, the notion of “power” at issue here is metaphysically almost entirely neutral, primarily reﬂecting commitment just to the plausible thesis that what causes an entity may---perhaps only contingently---bring about are associated with how the entity is---that is, with its features.) But the conditions, and accounts, are also crucially different; in particular, one is compatible with physicalism, while the other is not. I go on to consider the main accounts of emergent dependence and emergent autonomy, showing how, properly understood and (in some cases) diambiguated, these aim to instantiate one or the other schema. (shrink)
How can mental properties bring about physical effects, as they seem to do, given that the physical realizers of the mental goings-on are already sufficient to cause these effects? This question gives rise to the problem of mental causation (MC) and its associated threats of causal overdetermination, mental causal exclusion, and mental causal irrelevance. Some (e.g., Cynthia and Graham Macdonald, and Stephen Yablo) have suggested that understanding mental-physical realization in terms of the determinable/determinate relation (henceforth, 'determination') provides the key to (...) solving the problem of MC: if mental properties are determinables of their physical realizers, then (since determinables and determinates are distinct, yet don't causally compete) all three threats may be avoided. Not everyone agrees that determination can do this good work, however. Some (e.g., Douglas Ehring, Eric Funkhauser, and Sven Walter) object that mental-physical realization can't be determination, since such realization lacks one or other characteristic feature of determination. I argue that on a proper understanding of the features of determination key to solving the problem of MC, these arguments can be resisted. (shrink)
The physicalist thesis that all entities are nothing over and above physical entities is often interpreted as appealing to a supervenience-based account of "nothing over and aboveness”, where, schematically, the A-entities are nothing over and above the B-entities if the A-entities supervene on the B-entities. The main approaches to filling in this schema correspond to different ways of characterizing the modal strength, the supervenience base, or the supervenience connection at issue. I consider each approach in turn, and argue that the (...) resulting formulation of physicalism is compatible with physicalism’s best traditional rival: a naturalist emergentism. Others have argued that supervenience-based formulations of physicalism fail. My aim here, besides addressing the full spectrum of supervenience-based approaches, is to show how certain philosophical and scientific theses concerning naturalism, properties, and laws give us new reasons to think that supervenience-based formulations of physicalism are untenable. (shrink)
It is commonly supposed that metaphysical modal claims are to be evaluated with respect to a single domain of possible worlds: a claim is metaphysically necessary just in case it is true in every possible world, and metaphysically possible just in case it is true in some possible world. We argue that the standard understanding is incorrect; rather, whether a given claim is metaphysically necessary or possible is relative to which world is indicatively actual. We motivate our view by attention (...) to discussions in Salmon 1989 and Fine 2005, in which various data are taken to support rejecting the transitivity of accessibility (Salmon) and modal monism (Fine); we argue that relativized metaphysical modality can accommodate these data compatible with both standard modal logic(s) and modal monism. Noting an analogy with two-dimensional semantics, we argue that metaphysical modality has a complex structure, reflecting what is counterfactually possible, relative to each indicatively actual world. In arguing for the need for relativization, we are broadly on the same side as Crossley and Humberstone (1977) and Davies and Humberstone (1979); our contribution here is, first, to offer distinctively metaphysical reasons for relativization, and second, to show that relativization can be incorporated in ways minimally departing from standard modal logic(s). (shrink)
Some claim that Non-reductive Physicalism (NRP) is an unstable position, on grounds that NRP either collapses into reductive physicalism (contra Non-reduction ), or expands into emergentism of a robust or ‘strong’ variety (contra Physicalism ). I argue that this claim is unfounded, by attention to the notion of a degree of freedom—roughly, an independent parameter needed to characterize an entity as being in a state functionally relevant to its law-governed properties and behavior. I start by distinguishing three relations that may (...) hold between the degrees of freedom needed to characterize certain special science entities, and those needed to characterize (systems consisting of) their composing physical (or physically acceptable) entities; these correspond to what I call ‘reductions’, ‘restrictions’, and ‘eliminations’ in degrees of freedom. I then argue that eliminations in degrees of freedom, in particular—when strictly fewer degrees of freedom are required to characterize certain special science entities than are required to characterize (systems consisting of) their composing physical (or physically acceptable) entities—provide a basis for making sense of how certain special science entities can be both physically acceptable and ontologically irreducible to physical entities. (shrink)
How should physical entities be characterized? Physicalists, who have most to do with the notion, usually characterize the physical by reference to two components: 1. The physical entities are the entities treated by fundamental physics with the proviso that 2. Physical entities are not fundamentally mental (that is, do not individually possess or bestow mentality) Here I explore the extent to which the appeals to fundamental physics and to the NFM (“no fundamental mentality”) constraint are appropriate for characterizing the physical, (...) especially for purposes of formulating physicalism. Ultimately, I motivate and defend a version of an account incorporating both components: The physics-based NFM account: An entity existing at a world w is physical iff (i) it is treated, approximately accurately, by current or future (in the limit of inquiry, ideal) versions of fundamental physics at w, and (ii) it is not fundamentally mental (that is, does not individually either possess or bestow mentality). (shrink)
Alberto Casullo ("Necessity, Certainty, and the A Priori", Canadian Journal of Philosophy 18, 1988) argues that arithmetical propositions could be disconfirmed by appeal to an invented scenario, wherein our standard counting procedures indicate that 2 + 2 != 4. Our best response to such a scenario would be, Casullo suggests, to accept the results of the counting procedures, and give up standard arithmetic. While Casullo's scenario avoids arguments against previous "disconfirming" scenarios, it founders on the assumption, common to scenario and (...) response, that arithmetic might be independent of standard counting procedures. Here I show, by attention to tallying as the simplest form of counting, that this assumption is incoherent: given standard counting procedures, then (on pain of irrationality) arithmetical theory follows. (shrink)
I argue that Cartesian skepticism about the external world leads to a vicious regress of skeptical attitudes, the only principled and unproblematic response to which requires refraining from taking the very first skeptical step.
Humeans and non-Humeans reasonably agree that there may be necessary connections between entities that are identical or merely partly distinct—between, e.g., sets and their individual members, fusions and their individual parts, instances of determinates and determinables, members of certain natural kinds and certain of their intrinsic properties, and (especially among physicalists) certain physical and mental states. Humeans maintain, however, that as per “Hume’s Dictum”, there are no necessary connections between entities that are wholly distinct;1 and in particular, no necessary causal (...) connections between such entities (even when the background conditions requisite for causation are in place). The Humean’s differential treatment appears principled, in reflecting that commonly accepted necessary connections involve constitutional relations, whereas wholly distinct entities (notably, causes and effects) do not constitute each other. I’ll argue, however, that the appearance of principle is not genuine, as per the following conditional: Constitutional→Causal: If one accepts certain constitutional necessities, one should accept certain causal necessities. This result provides needed leverage in assessing the two main frameworks in the metaphysics of science, treating natural kinds, causes, laws of nature, and the like. These frameworks differ primarily on whether Hume’s Dictum is taken as a working constraint on theorizing; and it has proved difficult for either side to criticize the other without presupposing their preferred stance on the dictum, hence talking past one another. The arguments for Constitutional→Causal are based, however, in general and independent considerations about what facts in the world might plausibly warrant our beliefs in certain constitutional necessities involving broadly scientific entities. The Humean can respond to these arguments, which reveal a deep tension in their view, at attendant costs of implausibilty and adhocery. The non-Humean framework doesn’t face any such tension between constitutional and causal necessities, however, and so in this respect comes out ahead. (shrink)
Why believe Hume's Dictum, according to which there are, roughly speaking, no necessary connections between wholly distinct entities? Schaffer ('Quiddistic Knowledge', 2009) suggests that HD, at least as applied to causal or nomological connections, is motivated as required by the best account of (the truth) of counterfactuals---namely, a similarity-based possible worlds account, where the operative notion of similarity requires 'miracles'---more specifically, worlds where entities of the same type that actually exist enter into different laws. The main cited motivations for such (...) an account of similarity are first, that some salient contexts presuppose CF asymmetry, and second, that accounts of CFs failing to presuppose CF asymmetry are epistemologically problematic, such that under conditions of determinism, the variations in initial micro-conditions needed to implement a given counterfactual antecedent would result in so many changes to macro-states that evaluation of CFs would be rendered practically impossible. Against the first reason, I argue that no non-artificial contexts presuppose CF asymmetry; against the second, I observe that such micro-variation is compatible, in principle, with significant similarity as regards macroscopic states of affairs---enough, in particular, to allow CFs to be appropriately evaluated. (shrink)
Arguably no concept is more fundamental to science than that of causality, for investigations into cases of existence, persistence, and change in the natural world are largely investigations into the causes of these phenomena. Yet the metaphysics and epistemology of causality remain unclear. For example, the ontological categories of the causal relata have been taken to be objects (Hume 1739), events (Davidson 1967), properties (Armstrong 1978), processes (Salmon 1984), variables (Hitchcock 1993), and facts (Mellor 1995). (For convenience, causes and effects (...) will usually be understood as events in what follows.) Complicating matters, causal relations may be singular (Socrates’s drinking hemlock caused Socrates’s death) or general (Drinking hemlock causes death); hence the relata might be tokens (e.g., instances of properties) or types (e.g., types of events) of the category in question. Other questions up for grabs are: Are singular causes metaphysically and/or epistemologically prior to general causes or vice versa (or neither)? What grounds the intuitive asymmetry of the causal relation? Are macro-causal relations reducible to micro-causal relations? And perhaps most importantly: Are causal facts (e.g., the holding of causal relations) reducible to non-causal facts (e.g., the holding of certain spatiotemporal relations)? (shrink)
Horgan claims that physicalism requires "superdupervenience" -- supervenience plus robust ontological explanation of the supervenient in terms of the base properties. I argue that Horgan's account fails to rule out physically unacceptable emergence. I rather suggest (in the earliest explicit presentation of the powers-based subset strategy) that this and other unacceptable possibilities may be ruled out by requiring that each individual causal power in the set associated with a given supervenient property be numerically identical with a causal power in the (...) set associated with its base property. Satisfying this condition is all that is needed to render supervenience superduper. I go on to show that a wide variety of physicalist accounts, both reductive and non-reductive, are implicitly or explicitly designed to meet this condition, and so are more similar than they seem. (shrink)
Many phenomena appear to be indeterminate, including material macro-object boundaries, predicates or properties admitting of borderline cases, and certain open future claims. Here I provide an account of indeterminacy in metaphysical, rather than semantic or epistemic, terms. Previous such accounts have been "meta-level" accounts, taking metaphysical indeterminacy (MI) to involve its being indeterminate which of various determinate states of affairs obtain. On my alternative, "object-level" account, MI involves its being determinate (or just plain true) that an indeterminate (less than maximally (...) specific) SOA obtains. I more specifically suggest that MI involves an object's (i) having a determinable property, but (ii) not having any unique determinate of that determinable. I motivate the needed extension of the traditional understanding of determinables, then argue that a determinable-based account of MI accommodates, in intuitive and intelligible fashion, a wide range of seeming cases of MI, while satisfactorily treating the usual concerns to accounts of MI, stemming from Evans's argument, the problem of the many, and Sorites paradoxes. (shrink)
Many contemporary philosophers accept Hume's Dictum (HD), according to which there are no metaphysically necessary connections between distinct, intrinsically typed entities. Tacit in Lewis's work is a potential motivation for HD, according to which one should accept HD as presupposed by the best account of the range of metaphysical possibilities---namely, a combinatorial account, applied to spatiotemporal fundamentalia. Here I elucidate and assess this Ludovician motivation for HD. After refining HD and surveying its key, recurrent role in Lewis’s work, I present (...) Lewis’s appeal to HD as providing a broadly axiomatic generating basis for the space of metaphysical modality, and canvas the prima facie advantages of the resulting combinatorial principle---HD (L-combinatorialism)---as being principled, extensionally adequate and modally reductive. Most criticisms of Lewis's combinatorialism have targeted seeming ways in which the theory overgenerates the desired space; I rather argue that HD (L-combinatorialism) seriously undergenerates the desired space in three different ways. For each way I argue that available means of overcoming the undergeneration either fail to close the gap, undermine the claim that HD (L-combinatorialism) is a principled generator of metaphysical modal space, undermine the reductive status of Lewis's combinatorialism, or call into question the truth of HD. (shrink)
Horgan (1993) proposed that "superdupervenience" - supervenience preserving physicalistic acceptability - is a matter of robust explanation. I argued against him (1999) that (as nearly all physicalist and emergentist accounts reflect) superdupervenience is a matter of Condition on Causal Powers (CCP): every causal power bestowed by the supervenient property is identical with a causal power bestowed by its base property. Here I show that CCP is, as it stands, unsatisfactory,for on the usual understandings of causal power bestowal, it is trivially (...) satisfied or falsified. I offer a revision of CCP which incorporates the evident fact that causal powers are grounded in fundamental forces. (shrink)
The nonlinearity of a composite system, whereby certain of its features (including powers and behaviors) cannot be seen as linear or other broadly additive combinations of features of the system's composing entities, has been frequently seen as a mark of metaphysical emergence, coupling the dependence of a composite system on an underlying system of composing entities with the composite system's ontological autonomy from its underlying system. But why think that nonlinearity is a mark of emergence, and moreover, of metaphysical rather (...) than merely epistemological emergence? Are there diverse ways in which nonlinearity might enter into an account of properly metaphysical emergence? And what are the prospects for there actually being phenomena that are metaphysically emergent in any available sense? Here I explore the mutual bearing of nonlinearity and metaphysical emergence, with an eye towards answering these and related questions. (shrink)
This article argues, first, that the fundamental structure of the skeptical argument in Kripke's book on Wittgenstein has been seriously misunderstood by recent commentators. Although it focuses particularly on recent commentary by John McDowell, it emphasizes that the basic misunderstandings are widely shared by other commentators. In particular, it argues that, properly construed, Kripke offers a fully coherent reading of PI #201 and related passages. This is commonly denied, and given as a reason for rejecting Kripke's reading of Wittgenstein's text. (...) Second, it is pretty universally accepted that Kripke's Wittgenstein is a `non-factualist' about ascriptions of meaning. The article argues that, when Kripke's discussion is rightly understood and the content of `non-factualism' is clarified, there is an important sense in which the skeptical solution is not committed to non-factualism. (shrink)
It is widely held in theories of narrative that all works of literary narrative fiction include a narrator who fictionally tells the story. However, it is also granted that the personal qualities of a narrator may be more or less radically effaced. Recently, philosophers and film theorists have debated whether movies similarly involve implicit audio-visual narrators. Those who answer affirmatively allow that these cinematic narrators will be radically effaced. Their opponents deny that audio-visual narrators figure in the ontology of movies (...) at all, and many have argued that the ‘effaced’ literary narrator is an illusion as well. In this paper, I attempt to sort out the central issues that arise in these debates, defending the existence of effaced narrators in both literature and film. (shrink)
Hume argued that experience could not justify commonly held beliefs in singular causal effcacy, according to which individual or singular causes produce their effects or make their effects happen. Hume's discussion has been influential, as motivating the view that Causal reductionism (denying that causal efficacy is an irreducible feature of natural reality) requires Causal generalism (according to which causal relations are metaphysically constituted by patterns of events). Here I argue that causal reductionists---indeed, Hume himself---have previously unappreciated resources for making sense (...) of Causal singularism, associated with a relation that has been curiously underexploited in the causation debates: resemblance. The core idea I explore here is that causation may be metaphysically and epistemologically indicated by the coming-to-be of a resemblance. Comings-to-be of resemblances are epistemically available in the singular instance, even by Hume's strict lights, and, I argue, can justify (albeit fallibly) belief in the holding of singular causal relations; hence Hume's general argument for generalism fails. More to the contemporary metaphysical point, comings-to-be of resemblances provide valuable resources for existing singularist accounts: while neither changes (Ducasse) nor transfers of physical quantities (Fair, Dowe, Salmon) provide a suffciently fine-grained basis for the individuation of causes, either changes or transfers, in combination with comings-to-be of resemblances, can do so. (shrink)
Perry, in this lucid, deep, and entertaining book (based on his 1999 Jean Nicod lectures), supposes that type-identity physicalism is antecedently plausible, and that rejecting this thesis requires good reason (this is.
The subjective effects and therapeutic potential of the shamanic practice of journeying is well known. However, previous research has neglected to provide a comprehensive assessment of the subjective effects of shamanic-like journeying techniques on non-shamans. Shamanic-like techniques are those that demonstrate some similarity to shamanic practices and yet deviate from what may genuinely be considered shamanism. Furthermore, the personality traits that influence individual susceptibility to shamanic-like techniques are unclear. The aim of the present study was, thus, to investigate experimentally the (...) effect of shamanic-like techniques and a personality trait referred to as "ego boundaries" on subjective experience including mood disturbance. Forty-three non-shamans were administered a composite questionnaire consisting of demographic items and a measure of ego boundaries (i.e., the Short Boundary Questionnaire; BQ-Sh). Participants were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: listening to monotonous drumming for 15 minutes coupled with one of two sets of journeying instructions; or sitting quietly with eyes closed for 15 minutes. Participants' subjective experience and mood disturbance were retrospectively assessed using the Phenomenology of Consciousness Inventory (PCI) and the Profile of Mood States-Short Form, respectively. The results indicated that there was a statistically significant difference between conditions with regard to the PCI major dimensions of visual imagery, attention and rationality, and minor dimensions of imagery amount and absorption. However, the shamanic-like conditions were not associated with a major reorganization of the pattern of subjective experience compared to the sitting quietly condition, suggesting that what is typically referred to as an altered state of consciousness effect was not evident. One shamanic-like condition and the BQ-Sh subscales need for order, childlikeness, and sensitivity were statistically significant predictors of total mood disturbance. Implications of the findings for the anthropology of consciousness are also considered. (shrink)
Previous studies have shown that misperceptions and illusory experiences can occur if sensory stimulation is withdrawn or becomes invariant even for short periods of time. Using a perceptual deprivation paradigm, we created a monotonous audiovisual environment and asked participants to verbally report any auditory, visual or body-related phenomena they experienced. The data (analysed using a variant of interpretative phenomenological analysis) revealed two main themes: (1) reported sensory phenomena have different spatial characteristics ranging from simple percepts to the feeling of immersion (...) in a complex multisensory environment and (2) the active contribution of the perceiver where participants report engaging in exploratory processes even when there is nothing to find. Detailed analysis of the qualitative data further showed that participants who reported more perceptual phenomena were more likely to report internal bodily sensations, move more during the experiment and score higher on the Revised Hallucination Scale than those reporting fewer percepts explicitly linking perceptual deprivation to somatic phenomena. The results demonstrate how the variety of sensory experiences induced by perceptual deprivation can give further insight into the factors mediating conscious awareness and may suggest ways in which the brain imposes meaning on the environment under invariant sensory conditions. (shrink)
In 1924 Banach and Tarski demonstrated the existence of a paradoxical decomposition of the 3-ball B. i.e., a piecewise isometry from B onto two copies of B. This article answers a question of de Groot from 1958 by showing that there is a paradoxical decomposition of B in which the pieces move continuously while remaining disjoint to yield two copies of B. More generally, we show that if n ≥ 2, any two bounded sets in Rⁿ that are equidecomposable with (...) proper isometries are continuously equidecomposable in this sense. (shrink)
In a recent paper, Ebbs has given an elegant statement of a notable puzzle that has recurred in the literature since the original publication of Putnam’s “The Meaning of ‘Meaning’.” The puzzle can be formulated, for a certain characteristic case, along the following lines. There are very strong intuitions in support of a thesis that Putnam has explicitly endorsed, namely, the thesis: The extension of the word ‘gold’, as we use it now, is the same as the extension of ‘gold’, (...) as it was used in 1650 (before the rise of molecular chemistry). However, strong convictions about language use and truth conditions also incline us to the view that the extension of a term, as it is used at a time t, is determined by facts about the use of the term in the language at or before t, together with the facts about the various items to which the term prospectively applied. This paper looks at the various issues involved regarding these matters. (shrink)
This essay offers a defence of the non-cognitivist approach to the interpretation of moral judgments as disguised imperatives corresponding to social rules. It addresses the body of criticism that faced R. M. Hare, and that currently faces moral anti-realists, on two levels, by providing a full semantic analysis of evaluative judgments and by arguing that anti-realism is compatible with moral aspiration despite the non-existence of obligations as the externalist imagines them. A moral judgment consists of separate descriptive and prescriptive components (...) and is to be understood as a declarative statement prefaced by an 'ideality operator'. Moral beliefs are genuinely representational, but their truth conditions can only be stated with reference to imaginary ideal worlds. Moral judgments are neither confirmed nor verified, but alternative moral positions are preferentially endorsed and adopted by individual agents on the basis of their perceived all-things-considered optimality. High aspiration moralities are normally very costly to agents in terms of their prudential and aesthetic interests, but they are theoretically as eligible as the adoption of other, less demanding sets of rules. (shrink)
First kudos, followed by some friendly badinage, and then renewed appreciation and a look ahead. This commentary is meant to clarify main arguments, redress incorrect attributions, and strengthen an excellent contribution that draws further attention to the importance of evolutionary epidemiology. Keller & Miller (K&M), despite significant errors, have done well to further systematize the evolutionary epidemiology of psychopathology. (Published Online November 9 2006).
This symposium provides five case studies of the ways that John Dewey's philosophy and practice were influenced by women or "weirdoes" (our choices include F. M. Alexander, Albert Barnes, Helen Bradford Thompson, Elsie Ripley Clapp, and Jane Addams) and presents some conclusions about the value of dialoging across difference for philosophers and other scholars.
This paper points to some problems for the position that D.M. Walsh calls "alternative individualism," and argues that in defending this view Walsh has omitted an important part of what separates individualists and externalists in psychology. Walsh's example of Hox gene complexes is discussed in detail to show why some sort of externalism about scientific taxonomy more generally is a more plausible view than any extant version of individualism.