We introduce a novel paradigm for studying the cognitive processes used by listeners within interactive settings. This paradigm places the talker and the listener in the same physical space, creating opportunities for investigations of attention and comprehension processes taking place during interactive discourse situations. An experiment was conducted to compare results from previous research using videotaped stimuli to those obtained within the live face-to-face task paradigm. A headworn apparatus is used to briefly display LEDs on the talker's face in four (...) locations as the talker communicates with the participant. In addition to the primary task of comprehending speeches, participants make a secondary task light detection response. In the present experiment, the talker gave non-emotionally-expressive speeches that were used in past research with videotaped stimuli. Signal detection analysis was employed to determine which areas of the face received the greatest focus of attention. Results replicate previous findings using videotaped methods. (shrink)
Teachers White and Thompson allowed students to explore the primary-source readings from several philosophers in a 5th grade course called Apogee. The essay is written with a focus on Patience and other virtues.
This book is a major contribution to the interdisciplinary project of investigating the true nature of color vision. In recent times, research into color vision has been one of the main success stories of cognitive science. Each discipline in the field--neuroscience, psychology, linguistics, computer science and philosophy--has contributed significantly to our understanding of color. Evan Thompson provides an accessible review of current scientific and philosophical discussions of color vision. He steers a course between the subjective and objective positions on (...) color, arguing for a relational account. Thompson develops a novel "ecological" approach to color vision in cognitive science and the philosophy of perception. The book is vital reading for all cognitive scientists and philosophers whose interests touch upon this central area. (shrink)
Social contract theory has been criticized as a “theory in search of application.” We argue that incorporating the nano, or individual, level of analysis into social contract inquiry will yield more descriptive theory. We draw upon the psychological contract perspective to address two critiques of social contract theory: its rigid macro-orientation and inattention to the process of contract formation. We demonstrate how a psychological contract approach offers practical insight into the impact of social contracting on day-to-day human interaction. We then (...) articulate several potentially testable propositions that emerge from this nano-level perspective. (shrink)
Prior research shows that reasoners' confidence is poorly calibrated (Shynkaruk & Thompson, 2006). The goal of the current experiment was to increase calibration in syllogistic reasoning by training reasoners on (a) the concept of logical necessity and (b) the idea that more than one representation of the premises may be possible. Training improved accuracy and was also effective in remedying some systematic misunderstandings about the task: those in the training condition were better at estimating their overall performance than those (...) who were untrained. However, training was less successful in helping reasoners to discriminate which items are most likely to cause them difficulties. In addition we explored other variables that may affect confidence and accuracy, such as the number of models required to represent the problem and whether or not the presented conclusion was necessitated by the premises, possible given the premises, or impossible given the premises. These variables had systematically different relationships to confidence and accuracy. Thus, we propose that confidence in reasoning judgements is analogous to confidence in memory retrievals, in that they are inferentially derived from cues that are not diagnostic in terms of accuracy. (shrink)
Abstract What is the significance of the wicked problems framework for environmental philosophy? In response to wicked problems, environmental scientists are starting to welcome the participation of social scientists, humanists, and the creative arts. We argue that the need for interdisciplinary approaches to wicked problems opens up a number of tasks that environmental philosophers have every right to undertake. The first task is for philosophers to explore new and promising ways of initiating philosophical research through conducting collaborative learning processes on (...) environmental issues. The second task is for philosophers to recognize the value of philosophical skills in their engagements with members of other disciplines and walks of life in addressing wicked problems. The wicked problems framework should be seen as an important guide for facilitating philosophical research that is of relevance to problems like climate change and sustainable agriculture. Content Type Journal Article Category Articles Pages 1-14 DOI 10.1007/s10806-011-9344-0 Authors Paul B. Thompson, Department of Philosophy, Michigan State University, 503 S. Kedzie Hall, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA Kyle Powys Whyte, Department of Philosophy, Michigan State University, 503 S. Kedzie Hall, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA Journal Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics Online ISSN 1573-322X Print ISSN 1187-7863. (shrink)
We disagree about issues like abortion, euthanasia, the meaning of justice and the treatment of animals, and our debates often fail to reach a consensus. Discourse and Knowledge claimes that there is a correct solution to ethical controversies but that ethical decisions have to be made collectively. Janna Thompson argues that discourse is required for the very process of reaching correct conclusions about ethical matters.
Thompson considers the concept of international justice as it has developed in political theory from Hobbes to the present day, and develops a theory designed to take account of both individual freedom and differences among communities. This title available in eBook format. Click here for more information . Visit our eBookstore at: www.ebookstore.tandf.co.uk.
Determining the semantic role of sentence constituents is a key task in determining sentence meanings lying behind a veneer of variant syntactic expression. We present a model of natural language generation from semantics using the FrameNet semantic role and frame ontology. We train the model using the FrameNet corpus and apply it to the task of automatic semantic role and frame identiﬁcation, producing results competitive with previous work (about 70% role labeling accuracy). Unlike previous models used for this task, our (...) model does not assume that the frame of a sentence is known, and is able to identify null- instantiated roles, which commonly occur in our corpus and whose identiﬁcation is crucial to natural language interpretation. (shrink)
Social justice has strong historical roots in public health. This does not mean that we always understand what it entails when conducting an ethical analysis of a particular public health program. This article shows that Powers and Faden’s theory of social justice can provide important insights and nuance to such an analysis. The Ontario human papilloma virus vaccination program that is underway in Canada provides an important and timely case where we can surface ethical issues pertaining to social justice that (...) may otherwise remain unarticulated in the context of this program. This analysis focuses on the normative issues raised by the prioritization of a school-based program for girls only. It also examines the relevant domains of well-being identified in Powers and Faden’s theory to see whether the program is likely to enhance the well-being of those for whom it is most important. Finally, the role of vaccines in general in promoting well-being is discussed. (shrink)
Buddhism originated and developed in an Indian cultural context that featured many first-person practices for producing and exploring states of consciousness through the systematic training of attention. In contrast, the dominant methods of investigating the mind in Western cognitive science have emphasized third-person observation of the brain and behavior. In this chapter, we explore how these two different projects might prove mutually beneficial. We lay the groundwork for a cross-cultural cognitive science by using one traditional Buddhist model of the mind (...) – that of the five aggregates – as a lens for examining contemporary cognitive science conceptions of consciousness. (shrink)
This paper provides an informal guide to young researchers in science and engineering as they progress for their first 10 or so years from the time that they first started thinking about doing a PhD. This advice is drawn, with examples and anecdotes, from my own research career which started at the Cambridge Engineering Department in 1958, and progressed through 48 years at University College London to a part-time chair that I now hold in Aberdeen. I hope it may encourage (...) and help tomorrow's scientists on whom the Earth's future very much depends. (shrink)
Three experiments investigated reasoners' beliefs about causal powers; that is, their beliefs about the capacity of a putative cause to produce a given effect. Covariation-based theories (e.g., Cheng, 1997; Kelley, 1973; Novick & Cheng, 2004) posit that beliefs in causal power are represented in terms of the degree of covariation between the cause and its effect; covariation is defined in terms of the degree to which the effect occurs in the presence of the cause, and fails tooccur in the absence (...) of the cause. To test the degree to which beliefs incausal power are reflected in beliefs about covariation information, participants in three experiments rated their beliefs that putative causes have the capacity to produce a given effect (i.e., possess the causal power to produce an effect) as well as their beliefs regarding the degree to which the putative cause and effectcovary. A strong positive correlation was discovered between participants' beliefs in causal power and their beliefs that the effect occurs in the presence of the cause. However, no direct relationship was found between participants' beliefs in causal power and their belief that the effect will fail tooccur in the absence of the cause. These findings were replicated using bothwithin- (Experiments 1 and 3) and between-subject designs (Experiment 2). In Experiment 3, we extended these analyses to measures of familiarity, imageability, and detailedness of the representation. We found that participants' beliefs in causal power were strongly associated with familiarity, and imageability, but not the perceived detailedness of the cause and effect relationship. These data provide support for a multidimensional account of causal knowledge whereby people's representations of causation include, but are not limited to, the covariation, familiarity, and imageability of cause and effect relationships. (shrink)
• An adequate conceptual framework is still needed to account for phenomena that (i) have a first-person, subjective-experiential or phenomenal character; (ii) are (usually) reportable and describable (in humans); and (iii) are neurobiologically realized.2 • The conscious subject plays an unavoidable epistemological role in characterizing the explanadum of consciousness through first-person descriptive reports. The experimentalist is then able to link first-person data and third-person data. Yet the generation of first-person data raises difficult epistemological issues about the relation of second-order awareness (...) or meta-awareness to first-order experience (e.g. (shrink)
This will be the best way of explaining ‘Paris is the lover of Helen’, that is, ‘Paris loves, and by that very fact [et eo ipso] Helen is loved’. Here, therefore, two propositions have been brought together and abbreviated as one. Or, ‘Paris is a lover, and by that very fact Helen is a loved one’.
This talk, delivered at De l''autopoièse à la neurophénoménologie: un hommage à Francisco Varela; from autopoiesis to neurophenomenology: a tribute to Francisco Varela, June 18–20, at the Sorbonne in Paris, explicates several links between Varela''s neurophenomenology and his biological concept of autopoiesis.
_sciousness called ‘neurophenomenology’ (Varela 1996) and illustrates it with a_ _recent pilot study (Lutz et al., 2002). At a theoretical level, neurophenomenology_ _pursues an embodied and large-scale dynamical approach to the_ _neurophysiology of consciousness (Varela 1995; Thompson and Varela 2001;_ _Varela and Thompson 2003). At a methodological level, the neurophenomeno-_ _logical strategy is to make rigorous and extensive use of first-person data about_ _subjective experience as a heuristic to describe and quantify the large-scale_ _neurodynamics of consciousness (Lutz 2002). (...) The paper foocuses on_ _neurophenomenology in relation to three challenging methodological issues_ _about incorporating first-person data into cognitive neuroscience: (i) first-person_ _reports can be biased or inaccurate; (ii) the process of generating first-person_ _reports about an experience can modify that experience; and (iii) there is an ‘ex-_ _planatory gap’ in our understanding of how to relate first-person, phenomeno-_ _logical data to third-person, biobehavioural data._. (shrink)
Physics Department, University of Surrey, Guildford GU2 5XH, U.K October, 1990. We may suspect that quantum mechanics and consciousness are related, but the details are not at all clear. In this paper, I suggest how the mind and brain might fit together intimately while still maintaining distinct identities. The connection is based on the correspondence of similar functions in both the mind and the quantum-mechanical brain. Accompanying material for a talk at The Second Mind and Brain Symposium held at the (...) Institute of Psychiatry, Denmark Hill, London on 20th October, 1990. (shrink)
Abstract In this paper, I examine the plausibility of Embodied Accounts of Social Cognition by finding fault with the most detailed and convincing version of such an account, as articulated by Daniel Hutto ( 2008 ). I argue that this account fails to offer a plausible ontogeny for folk psychological abilities due to its inability to address recent evidence from implicit false belief tasks that suggest a radically different timeline for the development of these abilities. Content Type Journal Article Pages (...) 1-18 DOI 10.1007/s11097-011-9213-3 Authors J. Robert Thompson, Department of Philosophy and Religion, Mississippi State University, P.O. Box JS, Mississippi State, MS 39762, USA Journal Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences Online ISSN 1572-8676 Print ISSN 1568-7759. (shrink)
b>. Computational models of colour vision assume that the biological function of colour vision is to detect surface reflectance. Some philosophers invoke these models as a basis for 'externalism' about perceptual content (content is distal) and 'objectivism' about colour (colour is surface reflectance). In an earlier article (Thompson et al. 1992), I criticized the 'computational objectivist' position on the basis of comparative colour vision: There are fundmental differences among the colour vision of animals and these differences do not converge (...) on the detection of any single type of environmental property. David R. Hilbert (1992) has recently defended computational objectivism against my 'comparative argument;' his arguments are based on the externalist approach to perceptual content originally developed by Mohan Matthen (1988) and on the computationally inspired theory of the evolutionary basis for trichromacy developed by Roger N. Shepard (1990). The present article provides a reply to Hilbert with extensive criticism of both Matthen's and Shepard's theories. I argue that the biological function of colour vision is not to detect surface reflectance, but to provide a set of perceptual categories that can apply to objects in a stable way in a variety of conditions. Comparative research indicates that both the perceptual categories and the distal stimuli will differ according to the animal and its visual ecology; therefore externalism and objectivism must be rejected. (shrink)
Environmental changes can bear upon the environmental virtues, having effects not only on the conditions of their application but also altering the concepts themselves. I argue that impending radical changes in global climate will likely precipitate significant changes in the dominate world culture of consumerism and then consider how these changes could alter the moral landscape, particularly culturally thick conceptions of the environmental virtues. According to Jonathan Lear, as the last principal chief of the Crow Nation, Plenty Coups exhibited the (...) virtue of “radical hope,” a novel form of courage appropriate to a culture in crisis. I explore what radical hope may look like today, arguing how it should broadly affect our environmental character and that a framework for future environmental virtues will involve a diminished place for valuing naturalness as autonomy from human interference. (shrink)
Many of us these days sense there is something real beyond the scope of naturalistic science. But what? Must mental and religious lives always remain a mystery and never become part of scientific knowledge? In this well-argued book, physicist Ian Thompson makes a case for a 'scientific theism'. He shows how a following of core postulates of theism leads to novel and useful predictions about the psychology of minds and the physics of materials which should appear in the universe. (...) These predictions constitute a kind of 'theistic science'. It meshes surprisingly well with the structure of reality already revealed by modern quantum field theory and by theories of developmental stages in human minds. The result is a serious look at a promising new rational structure encompassing theology, psychology and physics. (shrink)
We argue, contra Joshua Knobe in a companion chapter, that most people have an understanding of free will and responsible agency that is compatible with a naturalistic vision of the human mind. Our argument is supported by results from a new experimental philosophy study showing that most people think free will is consistent with complete and perfect prediction of decisions and actions based on prior activity in the brain (a scenario adapted from Sam Harris who predicts most people will find (...) it inconsistent with free will). We explain why most people are "theory-lite" about the nature of mind and free will--they are not committed to substantive theories of the underlying causal structure of mind, such as Knobe's "transcendence vision". Rather, we suggest a "causal competition principle"--that an agent's actions will be deemed unfree when they are perceived to be fully caused by factors that do not include her reasons. This principle explains why people, including some scientists, perceive neuroscientific explanations as threatening free will when they are described in terms of neural processes fully causing actions to the exclusion of agents' reasons or reasoning processes. (shrink)
The possible relationship between widespread unauthorized copying of microcomputer software (also known as software piracy) and level of moral judgment is examined through analysis of over 350 survey questionnaires that included the Defining Issues Test as a measure of moral development. It is hypothesized that the higher one''s level of moral judgment, the less likely that one will approve of or engage in unauthorized copying. Analysis of the data indicate a high level of tolerance toward unauthorized copying and limited support (...) for the hypothesis. The most plausible explanation for these findings is that software copying is perceived as an issue of low moral intensity. This study calls into question the software industry''s strategy of concentrating exclusively on institutional compliance with copyright rules, rather than working to raise the perceived moral intensity about software piracy at the individual level. As long as the issue remains low in moral intensity, the industry cannot expect significant shifts in copying behaviors. Individuals must become more aware of and concerned about the nature and magnitude of harm to society and to the rightful copyright owners from unauthorized copying before their attitudes and behaviors come to reflect higher levels of moral judgment. (shrink)
A noticeable push toward using agricultural crops for ethanol production and for undertaking research to expand the range of possible biofuels began to dominate discussions of agricultural science and policy in the United States around 2005. This paper proposes two complementary philosophical approaches to examining the philosophical questions that should be posed in connection with this turn of events. One stresses a critique of underlying epistemological commitments in the scientific models being developed to determine the feasibility of various biofuels proposals. (...) The second begins with a broader set of questions about the philosophical goals of agriculture, then queries the place that a turn to biofuels might have within the philosophy of agriculture. Both are portrayed as viable and important. The paper itself is a preliminary stage-setting reflection on the need for these two types of philosophical inquiry. (shrink)
Recent research (e.g., Evans & Over, 2004) has provided support for the hypothesis that people evaluate the probability of conditional statements of the form if p then q as the conditional probability of q given p , P( q / p ). The present paper extends this approach to pragmatic conditionals in the form of inducements (i.e., promises and threats) and advice (i.e., tips and warnings). In so doing, we demonstrate a distinction between the truth status of these conditionals and (...) their effectiveness as speech acts. Specifically, while probability judgements of the truth of conditional inducements and advice are highly correlated with estimates of P( q / p ), their perceived effectiveness in changing behaviour instead varies as a function of the conditional probability of q given not-p , P( q / ∼p ). Finally, we show that the conditional probability approach can be extended to predicting inference rates on a conditional reasoning task. (shrink)
It has been argued that, in political theory and political practice, a concern with the distribution of economic opportunities and resources has recently been displaced by a preoccupation with the acknowledgement of cultural identities and differences. In their jointly authored book, Redistribution or Recognition?, Nancy Fraser and Axel Honneth present their very different reactions to this development. While Fraser argues that redistribution and recognition are two mutually irreducible elements of an account of social justice, Honneth contends that a suitably differentiated (...) account of recognition can provide the basis of a theory of justice on its own. This article critically assesses the relative merits of these two positions by focusing on their accounts of the nature of capitalism, the sort of social theories that are needed in light of these accounts, and the moral philosophies associated with these social theories. This assessment leads to a number of conclusions about the proper relationship between recognition and redistribution in a theory of social justice. (shrink)
Up to David L. Thompson's Homepage Outline by Section: I INTRODUCTION II A COLOURED ILLUSTRATION III THE NATURE OF WORLDS #1. Generalization from colour to all perceived #2. Chess as a model world. #3. Worlds depend on supervenience #4. Supervenience #5. Supervenience applied to worlds #6. Five dependencies #6. Interrelationships between the five #7. The enactive approach to transformation #8. The transformation of worlds #9. A world is a condensed history #10. A shared world defined by individuals #11. Summary (...) VI ONTOLOGY #1. Are perceived objects duplicates of physical #2. Are objects in the world real or illusory? #3. Ontological status of worlds and objects #3. Ontological status of worlds and objects V. CONCLUSION ENDNOTES. (shrink)
This paper presents the results of a qualitative investigation into the ethical and aesthetic values held by late- and mid-career landscape architects in the UK. It identifies the dominant discourses within three value areas, the aesthetic, the social and the environmental. Within the web of value discourses, some are clearly conflicting, while others are compatible or mutually supporting. The most prevalent values are those associated with 'technocentric accommodation'. A 'trivalent' approach to design is advocated which combines values from the three (...) main areas. (shrink)
My aim is to give an overview of what minds are and how they came to be. Minds are a product of billions of years of evolution so it is a daunting task to summarize this history in 45 minutes. My attempt will involve vast oversimplifications, highly speculative and condensed “just so” stories, and a great amount of hand waving. In particular, I will presuppose the theory of evolution and will not attempt to either explain it or justify it.
In his best-selling The Time Falling Bodies Take to Light , William Irwin Thompson intrigued readers with his thoughts on mythology and sexuality. In his newest book, Coming Into Being: Artifacts and Texts in the Evolution of Consciousness , he takes the reader on a journey through the evolution of consciousness from the preverbal communications of early stone carvings, to the writings of Marcel Proust, around the monumental wrappings of Christo and up to the rebirth of interest in the (...) Taoist philosophy of Lao Tzu. Owing as much to the rhythmic constructions of jazz as to established methods of scholarship, Thompson plays a riff on biology and culture seeing the birth of the mind in Proust’s Madeleine, the displacement of humanity in Christo’s wrapping of the Reichstag and, in Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching , the path forward to a new planetary culture. In Coming Into Being , William Irwin Thompson presents a fascinating vision of our past, our present, and our future that no one will want to miss. (shrink)
Is the white horse paradox just a sleight of hand, or is it indicative of some truths about words, language, and logic? The paradox underscores some differences in the significance and implications of terms when considered in the context of mention rather than use. Moreover, the paradox shows that insights into how words and phrases operate in language can be gained by considering them in the context of mention. The paradox also causes us to think of the instrumental value of (...) words, as opposed to thinking of their roles just in referring and in judgments and inferences. (shrink)
A major challenge for Dual Process Theories of reasoning is to predict the circumstances under which intuitive answers reached on the basis of Type 1 processing are kept or discarded in favour of analytic, Type 2 processing (Thompson 2009 ). We propose that a key determinant of the probability that Type 2 processes intervene is the affective response that accompanies Type 1 processing. This affective response arises from the fluency with which the initial answer is produced, such that fluently (...) produced answers give rise to a strong feeling of rightness. This feeling of rightness, in turn, determines the extent and probability with which Type 2 processes will be engaged. Because many of the intuitions produced by Type 1 processes are fluent, it is common for them to be accompanied by a strong sense of rightness. However, because fluency is poorly calibrated to objective difficulty, confidently held intuitions may form the basis of poor quality decisions. (shrink)
What is the task of educational theory or philosophy if it is not merely conceived as specification of philosophical doctrines in the realm of education? In my view it is the particular task of educational-philosophical theory to work critically on the historically developed cultural constructs that shape our (educational) experience. Thus, the activity that educational theorists are to perform is the critical reflection of the “limits of our world” by drawing on philosophical references and theories. In this text I describe (...) this activity drawing from my own research practice with a particular focus on its relation to what is called thinking. (shrink)
The term natural is effective in the marketing of a wide variety of foods. This ambiguous term carries important meaning in Western culture. To challenge an uncritical understanding of natural with respect to food and to explore the ambiguity of the term, the development of Western ideas of nature is first discussed. Personification and hypostasization of nature are given special emphasis. Leo Marx’s idea of the pastoral design in literature is then used to explore the meaning of natural as applied (...) to food, emphasizing Marx’s distinction between a sentimental and a complex pastoral. The latter is applied to natural as a means of collapsing a dichotomy of man and nature to the idea of second nature . From this perspective an understanding of the industrialization of the food system and the importance of local and organic food are considered. The extent to which processed foods might properly be considered natural is raised and discussed for several common foods. Although marketing of natural foods might make us think that we consume nature, I suggest that what is consumed is more appropriately second nature. I suggest that in order to maintain a critical perspective about one’s relationship to the natural world, everyone should make an attempt to experience the complex pastoral with respect to at least something that is consumed as food. When nature is understood as second nature in the context of a complex pastoral, the question of whether a food or ingredient is to be considered natural is replaced by deliberative thought based on our best knowledge and judgment, and the result will be less constrained by ideology. (shrink)
Although business ethicists have theorized frequently about the virtues and vices of employee loyalty, the concept of loyalty remainsloosely defined. In this article, we argue that viewing loyalty as a cognitive phenomenon—an attitude that resides in the mind of theindividual—helps to clarify definitional inconsistencies, provides a finer-grained analysis of the concept, and sheds additional light on theethical implications of loyalty in organizations. Specifically, we adopt the psychological contract perspective to analyze loyalty’s cognitivedimensions, and treat loyalty as an individual-level construction of (...) perceived reciprocal obligations. Based upon this perspective, we present a three-tiered framework of loyalty that provides a psychologically informed definition of the concept, specifies the variety of obligation types that loyalty can imply, and anticipates the potential for asymmetrical loyalty configurations between employers and employees. We use the framework to articulate moral issues associated with both symmetrical and asymmetrical loyalty configurations and discuss the implications of the framework for theory and practice. (shrink)
In two experiments, we investigated how people interpret and reason with realistic conditionals in the form of inducements (i.e., promises and threats) and advice (i.e., tips and warnings). We found that inducements and advice differed with respect to the degree to which the speaker was perceived to have (a) control over the consequent, (b) a stake in the outcome, and (c) an obligation to ensure that the outcome occurs. Inducements and advice also differed with respect to perceived sufficiency and necessity, (...) as well as the degree to which these statements were perceived to be effective in changing the behaviour described in the antecedent of the conditional. Multiple regression analyses indicated that perceived control over the consequent, necessity, and sufficiency emerged as the best predictors of (a) the degree to which statements were perceived to be effective in changing the behaviour of the addressee, and (b) inference patterns on a conditional arguments task. (shrink)
Dennis Thompson argues for a more robust conception of responsibility in public life than prevails in contemporary democracies. Thompson suggests that we stop thinking about public ethics in terms of individual vices (such as selfishness or sexual misconduct) and start thinking about it in terms of institutional vices (such as abuse of power and lack of accountability).
The standard epistemic justification for inclusiveness in political decision making is the Condorcet Jury Theorem, which states that the probability of a correct decision using majority rule increases in group size (given certain assumptions). Informally, majority rule acts as a mechanism to pool the information contained in the judgements of individual agents. I aim to extend the explanation of how groups of political agents track the truth. Before agents can pool the information, they first need to find truth-conducive information. Increasing (...) group size is also important in the initial search for truth-conducive information. (shrink)
Debates over the future of agriculture in North Americaestablish a dialectical opposition between conventional,industrial agriculture and alternative, sustainable agriculture.This opposition has roots that extend back to the 18th century inthe United States, but the debate has taken a number ofsurprising turns in the 20th century. Originally articulated as aphilosophy of the left, industrial agriculture has utilitarianmoral foundations. In the US and Canada, the articulation of analternative to industrial agriculture has drawn upon threecentral themes: the belief that agriculture is, in some (...) way, tiedto democracy; the belief that complex bureaucratic organizationsare inherently opposed to human interests; and the belief thatthe family farms characteristic of 19th century North Americatend to produce people of superior moral character. It has proveddifficult to weave these themes into a coherent vision ofagriculture for the 21st century. Often, risk and health-basedconcerns are the basis for public criticism of conventionalagriculture, but these do not conflict with the utilitarianorientation of the industrial model, and are easily incorporatedinto it. If there is to be a philosophical debate over the futureof agriculture, we must find some way to rehabilitate thequasi-Aristotelean view of agriculture that emerges from thethree critical themes noted above. (shrink)
It is above all in virtue of the will, or freedom of choice, that I understand myself to bear in some way the image or likeness of God. For ... God's will ... does not seem any greater than mine when considered as will in the essential and strict sense. This is because the will simply consists in our ability to do or not do something; ... or rather, it consists simply in the fact that when something is put forward (...) for our consideration by the intellect, we are moved to affirm or deny it, or pursue or avoid it, in such a way that we feel we are not determined by any external force. For in order for me to be free, there is no need for me to be capable of moving both ways; on the contrary, the more I incline in one direction - either because I understand that reasons of truth and goodness point that way ... the freer is my choice. (Descartes, Fourth Meditation.). (shrink)
...Witherspoon's Course in Political Theory, as Taken by James Madison Dennis F. Thompson Princeton University [523...Witherspoon's Course in Political Theory, as Taken by James Madison. James Madison was an unusually wen-prepared student when, at eighteen...
This article presents a critique of Philip Pettit’s concept of ‘freedom as non-domination’ and provides an alternative theory of both domination and republican political freedom. I argue that Pettit’s neo-republican concept of domination is insufficient to confront modern forms of domination and that this hampers his concept of republican freedom and its political relevance under the conditions of modernity. Whereas the neo-republican account of domination is defined by ‘arbitrary interference’, modern forms of domination, I argue, are characterized by routinization and (...) systemic forms of control and subordination. In the end, the neo-republican account of domination is more appropriate for 17th- and 18th-century social institutions rather than those that persist under modernity. In its place, I propose a more dynamic concept of domination and rework the concept of freedom in order to place the republican tradition within the context of modernity itself. I argue that the core insight of republicanism is its emphasis on the arrangement and reformation of social institutions to enhance social freedom. From this, I argue that republicanism can take its place as a more attractive alternative to liberal theory. (shrink)
Abstract Critics of The Agrarian Vision: Sustainability and Environmental Ethics (Lexington: 2010, University Press of Kentucky) have difficulties with its commitment to agrarian philosophy, and have also suggested that the program described there needs more elaboration of how sustainability might be pursued, especially in its social dimensions. The book draws upon agrarian philosophy to argue that habit and material practice are an appropriate and vital focus of ethics. Attention to habit and material practice will counterbalance an overemphasis on intentions and (...) outcomes in contemporary environmental philosophy. It is in this sense that agrarianism contributes to an ethic of sustainability by showing how contemporary food practices—the culture of the table—might contribute to an enabling sense of community solidarity. The book does not advocate a return to once vibrant agrarian traditions. Content Type Journal Article Category Articles Pages 1-10 DOI 10.1007/s10806-011-9329-z Authors Paul B. Thompson, WK Kellogg Professor of Agricultural, Food and Community Ethics, Department of Philosophy, Michigan State University, 503 South Kedzie Hall, East Lansing, MI 48824-1032, USA Journal Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics Online ISSN 1573-322X Print ISSN 1187-7863. (shrink)
What makes a food good , for you? With respect to food, the expression “good for you” usually refers to the effect of the food on the nutritional health of the eater, but it can also pertain more broadly. The expression is often used by a person who is concerned with another person’s well-being, as part of an exhortation. But when framed as a question and addressed to you , as an individual, the question can require a response, calling for (...) accountability beyond the realm of nutrition or other material qualities of the food. Economic value may be considered as a ratio: goodness/price. In this paper, we examine the numerator, exploring a broad range of values domains related to food, attempting to obtain a more comprehensive understanding of the meaning of goodness of food. We present a typology of values domains with respect to food, divided into three main categories: (1) material considerations, (2) psychological, psychosocial, and spiritual health, and (3) the well-being of society. This understanding that results from comprehensive consideration of these values domains has important implications for an individual for use in considering the question “what food is good for you?” in order to guide his or her future actions, helping to distinguish between what Dewey termed immediate good and reasonable good . A pragmatic approach to a fuller consideration of food-related values domains by individuals also has broad social, political, and economic implications. If, according to the FAO, food security involves both needs and preferences, consideration of what preferences are appropriate is fundamental to achieving food security. The questions about what is considered to be good food are central to questions about the sorts of food and agricultural systems human societies will seek to sustain. The approach to resolving this important aspect of sustainability might help inform a more general question as to appropriate limitations on preferences, a question fundamental to achieving sustainability in general. (shrink)
Multiple-vote majority rule is a procedure for making group decisions in which individuals weight their votes on issues in accordance with how competent they are on them. When individuals are motivated by the truth and know their relative competence on different issues, multiple-vote majority rule performs nearly as well, epistemically speaking, as rule by an expert oligarchy, but is still acceptable from the point of view of equal participation in the political process.
Strengthening a theorem of Hjorth this paper gives a new characterization of which Polish groups admit compatible complete left invariant metrics. As a corollary it is proved that any Polish group without a complete left invariant metric has a continuous action on a Polish space whose associated orbit equivalence relation is not essentially countable.
Preface Leadership, Spirituality and the Common Good East and West Approaches Henri-Claude de Bettignies & Mike J. Thompson For many, to bring together “ leadership”, “spirituality” and “the Common Good” will be seen more as a ...
Robert Hanna and Evan Thompson offer a solution to the Mind-Body-Body Problem. The solution, in a nutshell, is that the living and lived body (Leib) is metaphysically and conceptually basic, in the sense that one’s consciousness, on the one hand, and one’s corporeal being (Körper), on the other, are nothing but dual aspects of one’s lived body. One’s living and lived body can be equated with one’s being as an animal; therefore, this solution to the Mind-Body-Body Problem amounts to (...) an “animalist” version of the dual aspect theory. (shrink)
The world I grew up in believed that change and development in life are part of a continuous process of cause and effect, minutely and patiently sustained throughout the millenniums. With the exception of the initial act of creation ..., the evolution of life on earth was considered to be a slow, steady and ultimately demonstrable process. No sooner did I begin to read history, however, than I began to have my doubts. Human society and living beings, it seemed to (...) me, ought to be excluded from so calm and rational a view. The whole of human development, far from having been a product of steady evolution, seemed subject to only partially explicable and almost invariably violent mutations. Entire cultures and groups of individuals appeared imprisoned for centuries in a static shape which they endured with long-suffering indifference, and then suddenly, for no demonstrable cause, became susceptible to drastic changes and wild surges of development. It was as if the movement of life throughout the ages was not a Darwinian caterpillar but a startled kangaroo, going out towards the future in a series of unpredictable hops, stops, skips and bounds. Indeed, when I came to study physics I had a feeling that the modern concept of energy could perhaps throw more light on the process than any of the more conventional approaches to the subject. It seemed that species, society and individuals behaved more like thunder-clouds than scrubbed, neatly clothed and well-behaved children of reason. Throughout the ages life appeared to build up great invisible charges, like clouds and earth of electricity, until suddenly in a sultry hour the spirit moved, the wind rose, a drop of rain fell acid in the dust, fire flared in the nerve, and drums rolled to produce what we call thunder and lightening in the heavens and chance and change in human society and personality.LAURENS VAN DER POST, The Lost World of the Kalahari. (shrink)
The concept of a salience map has become important for the development of theories of visual attention and saccade generation. Recent studies have shown that the frontal eye fields have all of the characteristics of a salience map.
Thompson (1994) proposed a re-visioning of the oikos/polis dichotomy in classical philosophy. She offers a dual systems paradigm based on two ancient Greek mythemes---Hestia, goddess of the oikos, or domestic “homeplace,” and Hermes, god of the polis, or public “marketplace,” as an alternative to gender as the primary analytic lens to advance feminist theory. This paper applies hestian/hermean lenses of analysis, described in two propadeutic papers (SPCW 1996; 1997), to the writings of 6th-5th century BCEPythagorean women philosophers and 19th (...) century domestic scientists to claim them as moral philosophers of the hestian domain. (shrink)
Social contract theory has been criticized as a “theory in search of application.” We argue that incorporating the nano- or individual level of analysis into social contract inquiry will yield more descriptive theory. We draw upon the psychological contract perspective to address two critiques of social contract theory: its rigid macro orientation and inattention to the process of contract formation. We demonstrate how a psychological contract approach offers practical insight into the impact of social contracting on day-today human interaction.
Benton Stidd has defended the position that punctuationists are not wrong about the inadequacy of the synthetic theory of evolution for explaining evolution. The thrust of his defense is that arguments to the contrary by Thompson (1983a) involve a rational reconstruction along logical empiricist lines, which is insensitive to historical and social forces in a way that the Kuhnian Weltanschauung view that he espouses is not. I argue in this paper that Stidd has entirely misunderstood my arguments, that (...) the soundness of my arguments does not depend on acceptance of logical empiricism (they are just as sound on a Kuhnian view), and that Stidd fails to establish that punctuated equilibria is a new "paradigm". (shrink)
Loyalty, whether moral duty or dangerous attachment, is a cognitive phenomenon — an attitude that resides in the mind of the individual. In this article, weconsider loyalty from a psychological contract perspective – that is, as an individual-level construction of perceived reciprocal obligations. Viewing loyalty in this way helps clarify definitional inconsistencies, provides a finer-grained analysis of the concept, and sheds additional light on the ethical implications of loyalty in organizations. We present a threetiered framework for conceptualizing loyalty which also (...) helps explain apparently intractable paradoxes of loyalty. (shrink)
Recent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and pathological studies have indicated that axonal loss is a major contributor to disease progression in multiple sclerosis. 1 H magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), through measurement of N -acetyl aspartate (NAA), a neuronal marker, provides a unique tool to investigate this. Patients with primary progressive multiple sclerosis have few lesions on conventional MRI, suggesting that changes in normal appearing white matter (NAWM), such (...) as axonal loss, may be particularly relevant to disease progression in this group. To test this hypothesis NAWM was studied with MRS, measuring the concentration of N -acetyl derived groups (NA, the sum of NAA and N -acetyl aspartyl glutamate). Single-voxel MRS using a water-suppressed PRESS sequence was carried out in 24 patients with primary progressive multiple sclerosis and in 16 age-matched controls. Ratios of metabolite to creatine concentration (Cr) were calculated in all subjects, and absolute concentrations were measured in 18 patients and all controls. NA/Cr (median 1.40, range 0.86–1.91) was significantly lower in NAWM in patients than in controls (median 1.70, range 1.27–2.14; P = 0.006), as was the absolute concentration of NA (patients, median 6.90 mM, range 4.62–10.38 mM; controls, median 7.77 mM, range 6.60–9.71 mM; P = 0.032). There was no significant difference in the absolute concentration of creatine between the groups. This study supports the hypothesis that axonal loss occurs in NAWM in primary progressive multiple sclerosis and may well be a mechanism for disease progression in this group. (shrink)
We may now briefly review the ground we have covered. We began by observing that a pugnacious instinct might be conceived in two ways: ( a )As a need or craving of the organism. ( b )As an instinct to fight in response to the thwarting of an impulse, especially one with instinctive motivation. With regard to the first possibility, we found that so far as the study of young children reveals, this explanation is unsound. Consideration of both the intrinsic (...) and extrinsic factors in aggressive behaviour indicates that pugnacity need never be assumed as its own motive, for it has significance always in relation to some more primary need. This need is, in the young, primarily a need for security, and the aggressiveness of children is mainly intended to be adaptive to this end. With regard to the second possibility, which defines pugnacity as instinctive from the side of response, present evidence would indicate that the angry emotional response (which is loosely termed a pugnacious response), far from being an inborn set behaviour pattern, is itself differentiated early in life from some more general undifferentiated avoidance reaction. The general conclusion which we have drawn from the above discussion, therefore, is that the concept of the instinct of pugnacity is, defined in the first manner, definitely contrary to fact, and, defined in the second manner, made obsolete by a more exact analysis of the data to hand. “It is commonly thought that the only hope for the student of society is the acquisition of knowledge; more facts, and still more facts is the common catch-phrase. But what is really needed is more insight into what facts have been gained. The mere accumulation of knowledge in itself is of little use: what really is needed is some means of using that knowledge. The student should constantly try to group his facts into still wider generalisations, he should learn what is more and what is less essential, what is primary and what is derived; for he will only be able to acquire the necessary economy of thought by confining himself to what is really essential in the growth and development of human society.” W. J. Perry: “Children of the Sun.”. (shrink)
This is a study in the philosophy of social science. It takes the form of a comparative critique of three contemporary approaches: ordinary language philosophy, hermeneutics and critical theory, represented here respectively by Ludwig Wittgenstein, Paul Ricoeur and Jürgen Habermas. Part I is devoted to an exposition of these authors' views and of the traditions to which they belong. Its unifying thread is their common concern with language, a concern which nonetheless reveals important differences of approach. For whereas ordinary language (...) philosophers tend to treat linguistic activity as the ultimate object of inquiry, both Ricoeur and Habermas regard it as a medium which betrays more fundamental dimensions of human experience and the social world. Part II complements the exposition with a critical analysis of its central themes: the conceptualisation of action, the methodology of interpretation, and the theory of reference and truth. The author defends many aspects of the work of Ricoeur and Habermas, such as the emphasis on power and ideology, the strategy of depth interpretation, and the link between consensus and truth; but he argues that there are serious deficiencies and obscurities in their work. He proposes solutions to these difficulties and concludes with a sketch of a critical and rationally justified theory for the interpretation of action - a critical hermeneutics. (shrink)
Willie Thompson offers a clear, jargon-free introduction to postmodernist theory and its significant impact on the study of history. This is a hotly-debated topic, and much of the literature is both polemical and inaccessible to the novice. Thompson, however, presents key ideas in a straightforward way, making these debates relevant to students' own work.
Not every philosopher engages in personal reflection, and many who reflect would not count themselves philosophers. For this writer, "narrative " is the natural expression of reflection. This paper traces the origins of a philosophical standpoint that exists outside of the conventional discourses of philosophy. Informed by feminist writing on "the other," it suggests that by revisiting two archetypal figures in Greek mythology previously discussed in PCW (Thompson 1996; 1998), it may be possible to discern two mutually defining "ways (...) of seeing" and two "ways of knowing " that are complementary, but not necessarily confined by gender. Based on a reconceptualization of the ancient Greek oikos and polls, the proposed paradigm describes two mutually defining systems of action - the Hestian (domestic) and the Hermean (civic) that co-exist and co-emerge in everyday life. (shrink)
Radical Feminism Today offers a timely and engaging account of exactly what feminism is, and what it is not. Author Denise Thompson questions much of what has come to be taken for granted as `feminism' and points to the limitations of implicitly defining feminism in terms of `women', `gender', `difference' or `race//gender//class'. She challenges some of the most widely accepted ideas about feminism and in doing so opens up a number of hitheto closed debates, allowing for the possibility of (...) moving those debates further. (shrink)
An environmental ethic holds that some entities in nature or in natural states of affairs are intrinsically valuable. I argue that proposals for an environmental ethic either fail to satisfy requirements which any ethical system must satisty to be an ethic or they fail to give us reason to suppose that the values they promote are intrinsic values. If my arguments are correct, then environmental ethics is not properly ethics at all.
Recent developments in synthetic biology are described and characterized as moving the era of biotechnology into platform technologies. Platform technologies enable rapid and diffuse innovations and simultaneous product development in diffuse markets, often targeting sectors of the economy that have traditionally been thought to have little relationship to one another. In the case of synthetic biology, pharmaceutical and biofuel product development are occurring interactively. But the regulatory and ethical issues associated with these two applications share very little overlap. As such, (...) there is some risk that focus on traditional medical applications, for which the ethical expertise is highly developed, will overshadow the ethical issues that arise in connection with land use and its attendant socioeconomic consequences, especially in the developing world. The 2010 report of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethics exhibits this tendency. (shrink)
The dance metaphor of ape-human communication is valuable and needs to be pressed to its logical conclusion. When couples dance, they are both choreographers and dancers, and the dance arises dialectically out of the “peractions” of the dancers. We suppose that the way in which scientists communicate with their apes emerges by an analogous process.
Machine generated contents note: Introduction; 1. Scientific background; 2. Application of genetics in agriculture; 3. Philosophical and conceptual background; 4. The controversy: ideological and theological objections; 5. The controversy: purported benefits; 6. The controversy: purported harms; 7. The organic alternative; 8. Impact on low and middle income countries: poverty, farming and colonial legacies; Concluding remarks.
Despite its diminished importance amongst philosophers, the deductive-nomological framework is still important to contemporary behavioral scientists. Behavioral theorists operating within this framework must be careful to distinguish between nesting and chaining. Explanations are chained when the explanandum sentence of one explanation is one of the antecedent conditions of another. They are nested when one of the antecedent conditions or the explanandum sentence of one explanation is one of the covering laws of another. Confusion between nesting and chaining leads to explanation (...) nests that cannot be nomologically entrenched. They cannot, even in principle, be logically connected to laws arising from other sciences. This hazard should be particularly important for evolutionary psychologists to avoid, since many evolutionary psychologists tend to see themselves as dedicated to both nomological entrenchment and cognitive functionalist models. The hazard can be avoided if the intentional constructs of the behavioral sciences are construed not as ineffable and inaccessible antecedent conditions, but as complex, law-like patterns in behavior. (shrink)