It has been proposed that the design of robots might benefit from interactions that are similar to caregiver-child interactions, which is tailored to children's respective capacities to a high degree. However, so far little is known about how people adapt their tutoring behaviour to robots and whether robots can evoke input that is similar to child-directed interaction. The paper presents detailed analyses of speakers' linguistic behaviour and non-linguistic behaviour, such as action demonstration, in two comparable situations: In one experiment, parents (...) described and explained to their nonverbal infants the use of certain everyday objects; in the other experiment, participants tutored a simulated robot on the same objects. The results, which show considerable differences between the two situations on almost all measures, are discussed in the light of the computer-as-social-actor paradigm and the register hypothesis. Keywords: child-directed speech (CDS); motherese; robotese; motionese; register theory; social communication; human-robot interaction (HRI); computers-as-social-actors; mindless transfer. (shrink)
Die Einordnung der Rechtsphilosophie als akademische Disziplin reicht vom reinen Grundlagenfach mit «Service-Funktion» für die praktischen Rechtswissenschaften über ein interdisziplinäres Verständnis, das die Bezüge zu anderen ...
Introduction: "meaning in life and death : our stories" -- John Martin Fischer and Anthony B rueckner, "Why is death bad?", Philosophical studies, vol. 50, no. 2 (September 1986) -- "Death, badness, and the impossibility of experience," Journal of ethics -- John Martin Fischer and Daniel Speak, "Death and the psychological conception of personal identity," Midwest studies in philosophy, vol. 24 -- "Earlier birth and later death : symmetry through thick and thin," Richard Feldman, Kris McDaniel, Jason R. (...) Raibley, eds., The good, the right, life and death (Aldershot : Ashgate Publishing, 2006) -- "Why immortality is not so bad," International journal of philosophical studies, vol. 2, no. 2 (September 1994) -- John Martin Fischer and Ruth Curl, "Philosophical models of immortality in science fiction," in George Slusser et. al., eds., Immortal engines : life extension and immortality in science fiction and fantasy (Athens, Ga. : University of Georgia Press, 1996) -- "Epicureanism about death and immortality," Journal of ethics, vol. 10, no. 4 -- "Stories," Midwest studies in philosophy, vol. 20 -- "Free will, death, and immortality : the role of narrative," Philosophical papers (Special issue : meaning in life) volume 34, number 3, November 2005 -- "Stories and the meaning of life," revised and expanded version of "A reply to Pereboom, Zimmerman, and Smith," part of a book symposium on John Martin Fischer, my way : essays on moral responsibility, philosophical books, vol. 47, no. 3. (shrink)
This is a selection of essays on moral responsibility that represent the major components of John Martin Fischer's overall approach to freedom of the will and moral responsibility. The collection exhibits the overall structure of Fischer's view and shows how the various elements fit together to form a comprehensive framework for analyzing free will and moral responsibility. The topics include deliberation and practical reasoning, freedom of the will, freedom of action, various notions of control, and moral accountability. The (...) essays seek to provide a foundation for our practices of holding each other (and ourselves) morally and legally accountable for our behavior. A crucial move is the distinction between two kinds of control. According to Fischer, "regulative control" involves freedom to choose and do otherwise ("alternative possibilities"), whereas "guidance control" does not. Fischer contends that guidance control is all the freedom we need to be morally responsible agents. Further, he contends that such control is fully compatible with causal determinism. Additionally, Fischer argues that we do not need genuine access to alternative possibilities in order for there to be a legitimate point to practical reasoning. Fischer's overall framework contains an argument for the contention that guidance control, and not regulative control, is associated with moral responsibility, a sketch of a comprehensive theory of moral responsibility (that ties together responsibility for actions, omissions, consequences, and character), and an account of the value of moral responsibility. On this account, the value of exhibiting freedom (of the relevant sort) and thus being morally responsible for one's behavior is a species of the value of artistic self-expression. (shrink)
In this collection of essays -- a follow up to My Way and Our Stories -- John Martin Fischer defends the contention that moral responsibility is associated with "deep control". Fischer defines deep control as the middle ground between two untenable extreme positions: "superficial control" and "total control". -/- Our freedom consists of the power to add to the given past, holding fixed the laws of nature, and therefore, Fischer contends, we must be able to interpret our (...) actions as extensions of a line that represents the actual past. In "connecting the dots", we engage in a distinctive sort of self-expression. In the first group of essays in this volume, Fischer argues that we do not need genuine access to alterative possibilities in order to be morally responsible. Thus, the line need not branch off at crucial points (where the branches represent genuine metaphysical possibilities). In the remaining essays in the collection he demonstrates that deep control is the freedom condition on moral responsibility. In so arguing, Fischer contends that total control is too much to ask--it is a form of "metaphysical megalomania". So we do not need to "trace back" all the way to the beginning of the line (or even farther) in seeking the relevant kind of freedom or control. Additionally, he contends that various kinds of "superficial control"--such as versions of "conditional freedom" and "judgment-sensitivity" are too shallow; they don't trace back far enough along the line. In short, Fischer argues that, in seeking the freedom that grounds moral responsibility, we need to carve out a middle ground between superficiality and excessive penetration. Deep Control is the "middle way". Fischer presents a new argument that deep control is compatible not just with causal determinism, but also causal indeterminism. He thus tackles the luck problem and shows that the solution to this problem is parallel in important ways to the considerations in favor of the compatibility of causal determinism and moral responsibility. (shrink)
Replies to critics Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11098-010-9669-y Authors John Martin Fischer, University of California, Riverside, CA USA Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116.
Introduction: God and Freedom John Martin Fischer Imagine that in some remote part of Connecticut there is a computer that has stored in its memory all truths about your life — past, present, and future. The computer contains all the ...
Stanley Cavell's work is distinctive not only in its importance to philosophy but also for its remarkable interdisciplinary range. Cavell is read avidly by students of film, photography, painting, and music, but especially by students of literature, for whom Cavell offers major readings of Thoreau, Emerson, Shakespeare, and others. In this first book-length study of Cavell's writings, Michael Fischer examines Cavell's relevance to the controversies surrounding poststructuralist literary theory, particularly works by Jacques Derrida, J. Hillis Miller, Paul de Man, (...) and Stanley Fish. Throughout his study, Fischer focuses on skepticism, a central concern of Cavell's multifaceted work. Cavell, following J. L. Austin and Wittgenstein, does not refute the radical epistemological questioning of Descartes, Hume, and others, but rather characterizes skepticism as a significant human possibility or temptation. As presented by Fischer, Cavell's accounts of both external-world and other-minds skepticism share significant affinities with deconstruction, a connection overlooked by contemporary literary theorists. Fischer follows Cavell's lead in examining how different genres address the problems raised by skepticism and goes on to show how Cavell draws on American and English romanticism in fashioning a response to it. He concludes by analyzing Cavell's remarks about current critical theory, focusing on Cavell's uneasiness with some of the conclusions reached by its practitioners. Fischer shows that Cavell's insights, grounded in powerful analyses of Descartes, Hume, and Wittgenstein, permit a fresh view of Derrida, Miller, de Man, and Fish. The result is not only a revealing characterization of deconstruction but a much-needed and insightful introduction to Cavell's rich but difficult oeuvre. (shrink)
The ability to understand the relation between quantities has been documented in a wide range of species. Such quantity discrimination competences are commonly demonstrated by a choice of the larger quantity or numerosity in a two-choice task. However, despite their overall success, many subjects commit a surprisingly large number of errors even in simple discriminations such as 1 vs. 3. Recently, it had been suggested that this is a result of the testing procedure. When monkeys could choose between different quantities (...) of edible rewards, they showed low-level success. If, however, they chose between inedible items and were rewarded with edible items, their performance increased. The same held true if they choose between edible items but were rewarded with other edible items (Schmitt & Fischer, 2011, Nat. Comm., 2, 257). This led to the suggestion that the monkeys may not have been able to mentally separate between choice- and reward-stimuli in the initial test situation. To investigate if this response pattern can also be found in non-primate species, we replicated the experiment with 12 Icelandic horses kept at a private horse-riding school. Horses are known to discriminate between quantities up to three, but are only very distantly related to primates. Unexpectedly, we found only weak evidence for quantity discrimination skills and no effect of the type of stimuli. Only some subjects reliably selected the larger quantity in some, but not all quantity pairs. These findings are not only in contrast to the previously conducted study on monkeys, but also to other studies on horses. From this, we conclude that quantity discrimination competence may only be of minor importance for horses and highlight the influence of experimental conditions on the outcome of cognitive tests. (shrink)
Despite the differences the critique of metaphysics which shapes both Kant's and Levinas's thought is deeply related. In order to prove this thesis the article first sketches the problem of totality according to the panoramic structure of theoretical cognition postulated by Levinas; then the article looks at the idea of the transcendental ideal which Kant regards as the supreme point of contemplation of theoretical rational cognition and at the same time as its abyss; finally the primacy of practical reason in (...) Kant's and Levinas's thought is emphasized. The article is a prelude to "Metaphysik aus dem Anspruch des Anderen" by Norbert Fischer and Dieter Hattrup (Paderborn: SchÃ¶ningh, 1999). (shrink)
Introduction to Philosophy, Fourth Edition, is the most comprehensive topically organized collection of classical and contemporary philosophy available. Building on the exceptionally successful tradition of previous editions, this edition for the first time incorporates the insights of a new coeditor, John Martin Fischer, and has been updated and revised to make it more accessible. Ideal for introductory philosophy courses, the text includes sections on the meaning of life, God and evil, knowledge and reality, the philosophy of science, the mind/body (...) problem, freedom of will, consciousness, ethics, and philosophical puzzles and paradoxes. It presents seventy substantial--and in some cases complete--selections from the best and most influential works in philosophy, offering a unique balance between classical and contemporary material. An extensive glossary of philosophical terms is also included. The fourth edition features fifteen new readings, including work by Albert Camus, Roderick M. Chisholm, Daniel Dennett, Harry G. Frankfurt, William Paley, Derek Parfit, John Perry, Richard Taylor, Peter Van Inwagen, Bernard Williams, and Susan Wolf. Part III, Knowledge and Reality, has been restructured and now includes Plato's Thaetetus, selections by Edmund L. Gettier and Robert Nozick, and an essay by Christopher Grau that explores the philosophical concepts presented in the popular film The Matrix. Two new ethics puzzles--"The Trolley Problem" and "Ducking Harm and Sacrificing Others"--are also included. This edition incorporates Study Questions after each reading and is accompanied by an Instructor's CD and a Student Companion Website, both containing helpful resources. (shrink)
Much has been written recently about free will and moral responsibility. In this paper I will focus on the relationship between free will, on the one hand, and various notions that fall under the rubric of “morality,” broadly construed, on the other: deliberation and practical reasoning, moral responsibility, and ethical notions such as “ought,” “right,” “wrong,” “good,” and “bad.” I shall begin by laying out a natural understanding of freedom of the will. Next I develop some challenges to the common-sense (...) view that we have this sort of freedom. I will go on to explore the implications of this challenge for deliberation, moral responsibility, and the central ethical notions. (shrink)
The Frankfurt cases have been thought by some philosophers to show that moral responsibility does not require genuine metaphysical access to alternative possibilities. But various philosophers have rejected this putative "lesson" of the cases, and they have put forward a powerful "Dilemma Defense." In the last decade or so, many philosophers have been persuaded by the Dilemma Defense that the Frankfurt cases do not show what Frankfurt (and others) thought they show. This essay presents a template for a general strategy (...) of response to the Dilemma Defense. It thus seeks to provide further support for the author's view that the Frankfurt cases help to establish that moral responsibility does not require alternative possibilities. (shrink)
Focusing on the concepts and interactions of free will, moral responsibility, and determinism, this text represents the most up-to-date account of the four major positions in the free will debate. Four serious and well-known philosophers explore the opposing viewpoints of libertarianism, compatibilism, hard incompatibilism, and revisionism The first half of the book contains each philosopher’s explanation of his particular view; the second half allows them to directly respond to each other’s arguments, in a lively and engaging conversation Offers the reader (...) a one of a kind, interactive discussion Forms part of the acclaimed Great Debates in Philosophy series. (shrink)
This book provides a comprehensive, systematic theory of moral responsibility. The authors explore the conditions under which individuals are morally responsible for actions, omissions, consequences, and emotions. The leading idea in the book is that moral responsibility is based on 'guidance control'. This control has two components: the mechanism that issues in the relevant behavior must be the agent's own mechanism, and it must be appropriately responsive to reasons. The book develops an account of both components. The authors go on (...) to offer a sustained defense of the thesis that moral responsibility is compatible with causal determinism. (shrink)
In this paper I seek to identify different sorts of freedom putatively linked to moral responsibility; I then explore the relationship between such notions of freedom and the Consequence Argument, on the one hand, and the Frankfurt-examples, on the other. I focus (in part) on a dilemma: if a compatibilist adopts a broadly speaking "conditional" understanding of freedom in reply to the Consequence Argument, such a theorist becomes vulnerable in a salient way to the Frankfurt-examples.
In this essay I shall begin by sketching a "Frankfurt-type example." I shall then lay out a disturbing challenge to the claim I have made above that these examples help us to make significant progress in the debates about the relationship between moral responsibility and causal determinism. I then will provide a reply to this challenge, and the reply will point toward a more refined formulation of the important contribution I believe Frankfurt has made to defending a certain sort of (...) compatibilism. (shrink)
In this paper I discuss some of Martha Nussbaum’s defenses of Epicurean views about death and immortality. Here I seek to defend the commonsense view that death can be a bad thing for an individual against the Epicurean; I also defend the claim that immortality might conceivably be a good thing. In the development of my analysis, I make certain connections between the literatures on free will and death. The intersection of these two literatures can be illuminated by reference to (...) my notion of a Dialectical Stalemate. (shrink)
It seems that, whereas a person's death needn't be a bad thing for him, it can be. In some circumstances, death isn't a "bad thing" or an "evil" for a person. For instance, if a person has a terminal and very painful disease, he might rationally regard his own death as a good thing for him, or at least, he may regard it as something whose prospective occurrence shouldn't be regretted. But the attitude of a "normal" and healthy human being (...) - adult or child - toward the prospect of his death is different; it is not unreasonable in certain cases to regard one's own death as a bad thing for oneself. If this is so, then the question arises as to why death is bad, in those cases in which it is bad. (shrink)
The construction and analysis of arguments supposedly are a philosopher's main business, the demonstration of truth or refutation of falsehood his principal aim. In Sense and Sensibilia, J.L. Austin does something entirely different: He discusses the sense-datum doctrine of perception, with the aim not of refuting it but of 'dissolving' the 'philosophical worry' it induces in its champions. To this end, he 'exposes' their 'concealed motives', without addressing their stated reasons. The paper explains where and why this at first sight (...) outrageous aim and approach are perfectly sensible, how exactly Austin proceeds, and how his approach can be taken further. This shows Austin to be a pioneer of the currently much discussed notion of philosophy as therapy, reveals a subtle and unfamiliar use of linguistic analysis that is not open to the standard objections to ordinary language philosophy, and yields a novel and forceful treatment of the sense-datum doctrine. (shrink)
In this brief concluding chapter we first wish to present the overall argument of the book in a concise, nontechnical way. We hope this will provide a clear view of the argument. We shall then point to some of the distinctive--and attractive--features of our approach. Finally, we shall offer some preliminary thoughts about extending the account of moral responsibility to apply to emotions.
Dearly beloved, I want to thank Brother Tim O’Connor for his candid reactions to my published sermons this Sunday morning, and I welcome you all, in the spirit of ecumenicism, to the Church of Fundamentalist Naturalism. Before the collection plate is passed, let me tell you a bit more about the Church. Our symbol is of course the Darwin-fish, the four-legged evolver that echoes the ancient fish symbol of Christianity. I was wearing my Darwin-fish lapel pin at an evolutionary theory (...) conference a few years ago, and the physicist Murray Gell-Mann came up to me and after reminding me of what he said was the first known acronym-- I?1??, the Greek word for fish-- I??”?? ??4??”? 1,”< ?4”? ???0?, Jesus Christ, God the son and savior–he asked me what D-A-R-W-I-N stood for. I said I’d get back to him and went off to have a cup of coffee while dredging up what I could of my high school Latin. I came up with something I’m quite happy with: Delere Auctorem Rerum Ut Universum Infinitum Noscere: Destroy the Author of things in order to understand the infinite universe! That, it seems to me, is our key insight about Darwin’s dangerous idea: in a single non-miraculous stroke, it unites the world of meaning and purpose and design with the world of meaningless matter and mechanism, cause and effect. (shrink)
In this paper I explore in a preliminary way the interconnections among narrative explanation, narrative value, free will, an immortality. I build on the fascinating an suggestive work of David Velleman. I offer the hypothesis that our acting freely is what gives our lives a istinctive kin of value?narrative value. Free Will, then, is connected to the capacity to lead a meaningful life in a quite specific way: it is the ingredient which, when aded to others, enows us with a (...) meaning over an above the cumulative value erived from ading together levels of momentary welfare. In acting freely, we are writing a sentence in the story of our lives, and the value of acting freely is thus a species of the value of artistic creativity or self-expression (understood appropriately). Finally, I contend that the fact that our lives are stories need not entail that they have endings, or that immortality would necessarily be unimaginable or essentially different from ordinary, finite human life. Yes, a certain sort of narrative understanding of our lives as a whole would be impossible in the context of immortality; but much of what we care about, and value, in our stories might remain. (shrink)
Abstract: The notion that philosophy can be practised as a kind of therapy has become a focus of debate. This article explores how philosophy can be practised literally as a kind of therapy, in two very different ways: as philosophical therapy that addresses “real-life problems” (e.g., Sextus Empiricus) and as therapeutic philosophy that meets a need for therapy which arises in and from philosophical reflection (e.g., Wittgenstein). With the help of concepts adapted from cognitive and clinical psychology, and from cognitive (...) linguistics, the article shows that both philosophical projects address important and literally therapeutic tasks and explains how they can do so with genuinely philosophical argument and analysis. This brings into view new applications for philosophy, a need for therapy in core areas of the subject, and the outline of a new approach to meet what will be shown to be a central need. (shrink)
Some have argued (following Epicurus) that death cannot be a bad thing for an individual who dies. They contend that nothing can be a bad for an individual unless the individual is able to experience it as bad. I argue against this Epicurean view, offering examples of things that an individual cannot experience as bad but are nevertheless bad for the individual. Further, I argue that death is relevantly similar.
This article is my contribution to an author-meets-critics session on Daniel Dennett’s Freedom Evolves (Viking, 2003) at the 2004 meetings of the American Philosophical Association – Pacific Division. Dennett criticizes a view I defend in Autonomous Agents (Oxford University Press, 1995) about the importance of agents’ histories for autonomy, freedom, and moral responsibility and defends a competing view. Our disagreement on this issue is the major focus of this article. Additional topics are manipulation, avoidance, and avoidability.
The paper presents a novel account of nature and genesis of some philosophical problems, which vindicates a new approach to an arguably central and extensive class of such problems: The paper develops the Wittgensteinian notion of ‘philosophical pictures’ with the help of some notions adapted from metaphor research in cognitive linguistics and from work on unintentional analogical reasoning in cognitive psychology. The paper shows that adherence to such pictures systematically leads to the formulation of unwarranted claims, ill-motivated problems, and pointless (...) theories. To do so, the paper proceeds from a case-study on a lastingly influential development in early modern philosophy: the adoption of the doctrine of secondary qualities, and its principal consequences. The findings motivate a new approach to an arguably extensive and important class of philosophical problems: to the problems we raise in the grip of philosophical pictures. (shrink)
The paper develops and addresses a major challenge for therapeutic conceptions of philosophy of the sort increasingly attributed to Wittgenstein. To be substantive and relevant, such conceptions have to identify “diseases of the understanding” from which philosophers suffer, and to explain why these “diseases” need to be cured in order to resolve or overcome important philosophical problems. The paper addresses this challenge in three steps: With the help of findings and concepts from cognitive linguistics and cognitive psychology, it redevelops the (...) Wittgensteinian notion of “philosophical pictures.” Through a case study on seminal versions of familiar mind-body problems, it examines how such pictures shape philosophical reflection and generate ill-motivated but captivating problems. Third, it shows that philosophical pictures are constitutive of “diseases of the understanding,” in a quite strict sense of the term. On this basis, the paper explains when and why philosophical therapy is required. (shrink)
I reply to the challenges to Frankfurt-style compatibilism about causal determinism and moral responsibility presented in Daniel Speak's paper 'The Impertinence of Frankfurt-Style Argument'. I seek to show how Speak's critiques rest on an 'all-or-nothing' attitude in various ways, and I attempt to defend the importance of Frankfurt-style argumentation in defence of compatibilism.
I explore a key feature of Robert Kane’s libertarianism (about which I have been puzzled for some time). Kane claims that we should separate issues of alternative possibilities from issues of ultimacy, but he further argues that they are connected in a certain way. I call into question this connection, and I continue to argue for a strict separation of considerations pertaining to alternative possibilities and “actual-sequence” considerations.
In his recent essay in the Philosophical Review, “Truth and Freedom,” Trenton Merricks contends (among other things) that the basic argument for the incompatibility of God's foreknowledge and human freedom is question-begging. He relies on a “truism” to the effect that truth depends on the world and not the other way around. The present essay argues that mere invocation of this truism does not establish that the basic argument for incompatibilism is question-begging. Further, it seeks to clarify important elements of (...) the debate, including the fixity-of-the-past premise in the incompatibilist's argument and the Ockhamist response. It sketches some potential links between the issues here and recent work on ontological dependence, and it connects the issues raised by Merricks to important work that has appeared in (among other places) the Philosophical Review. (shrink)
In a fascinating recent article, Michael Otsuka seeks to bypass the debates about the Principle of Alternative Possibilities by presenting and defending a different, but related, principle, which he calls the “Principle of Avoidable Blame.” According to this principle, one is blameworthy for performing an act only if one could instead have behaved in an entirely blameless manner. Otsuka claims that although Frankfurt-cases do undermine the Principle of Alternative Possibilities, they do not undermine the Principle of Avoidable Blame. In this (...) brief paper, we offer a critical discussion of the core of Otsuka’s argument, especially the claim that his favored principle cannot be refuted by Frankfurt-cases. We do not believe that Otsuka has offered good reason to suppose that the Principle of Avoidable Blame—and the related incompatibilism—fares any better than the original Principle of Alternative Possibilities. (shrink)
Christopher Taylor has greatly clarified my thinking on this topic and shown me how to launch a deeper and more radical campaign in support of my earlier claims to this effect, and our coauthored paper (Taylor and Dennett 2001) provides more technical detail than is needed here. Here I will attempt a gentler version of our argument, highlighting the main points so that non-philosophers can at least see what the points of contention are, and how we propose to settle them, (...) while leaving out almost all the logical formulae. Philosophers should consult the full-dress version, of course, to see if we have actually tied off the loose ends, and closed the loopholes that are passed by without mention in this telling. (Dennett. (shrink)
Pragmatist philosopher John Dewey famously stated that man is a creature of habit, and not of reason or instinct. In this paper, I will assess Dewey’s explication of the habituated self and the potential it holds for radical transformative processes. In particular, I will examine the process of coming to feminist consciousness, and will show that a feminist-pragmatist reading of change can accommodate a view of the self as responsible agent. Following the elucidation of the changing self, I will appraise (...) key pragmatist concepts of inquiry, such as doubt and self-reflexivity, with regard to their treatment of deep-seated internalisations of oppressive norms and the initiation of change. Ultimately, I will argue that a feminist-pragmatist understanding of transformation is conducive not only to the project of personal transformation, but also to social and political change more generally. (shrink)
The later Wittgenstein advanced a revolutionary but puzzling conception of how philosophy ought to be practised: Philosophical problems are not to be coped with by establishing substantive claims or devising explanations or theories. Instead, philosophical questions ought to be treated ‘like an illness’. Even though this ‘non-cognitivism’ about philosophy has become a focus of debate, the specifically ‘therapeutic’ aims and ‘non-theoretical’ methods constitutive of it remain ill understood. They are motivated by Wittgenstein’s view that the problems he addresses result from (...) misinterpretation, driven by ‘urges to misunderstand’. The present paper clarifies this neglected concept and analyses how such ‘urges’ give rise to pseudo-problems of one particular, hitherto little understood, kind. This will reveal ‘therapeutic’ aims reasonable and ‘non-theoretical’ methods necessary, in one clearly delineated and important part of philosophy. I.e.: By developing a novel account of nature and genesis of one important class of philosophical problems, the paper explains and vindicates a revolutionary reorientation of philosophical work, at the level of both aims and methods. (shrink)