Explaining his now famous parody in Social Text's "Science Wars" issue, Alan Sokal writes in Dissent ("Afterword", Fall 1996): But why did I do it? I confess that I'm an unabashed Old Leftist who never quite understood how deconstruction was supposed to help the working class. And I'm a stodgy old scientist who believes, naively, that there exists an external world, that there exist objective truths about that world, and that my job is to discover some of them. (...) There is much to note in this "confession." Why choose a hoax on Social Text to make these points? Did Sokal believe its editors were unabashed deconstructionists who doubted the existence of an external world or that they were anti-science? If so, he has either misread the burden of its seventeen-year history or was capricious in his choice. If not, then he has perpetuated the saddest hoax of all: on himself. For the fact is that Social Text, of which I am a founder and in whose editorial collective I served until this year, has never been in the deconstructionist camp; nor do its editors or the preponderance of its contributors doubt the existence of a material world. What is at issue is whether our knowledge of it can possibly be free of social and cultural presuppositions. (shrink)
This small book packs a considerable theoretical and practical punch. Alan Ware challenges much received wisdom about the dynamics of two party politics. In the process, he adds considerably to contemporary discussion of the intersection of structure and agency in the development and adaptation of political systems. Ware picks out two party systems for concentrated attention because of their relative tractability in his words: these systems are ideal for analysing the capacity of parties to pursue their interests in (...) the face of both other actors within the political system and also of elements within the party itself. (shrink)
Une des réactions qui m’a le plus surpris suite à la publication, avec Alan Sokal, d’ Impostures intellectuelles (1), c’est l’accusation qui nous a été faite d’être « positivistes ». En effet, nulle part nous ne défendons cette doctrine et, les rares fois où nous en parlons, c’est pour la critiquer. Néanmoins j’ai vite compris qu’il fallait distinguer entre positivisme et « positivisme », c’est-à-dire entre une doctrine philosophique complexe ayant prospéré à une certaine époque et à laquelle plus (...) personne n’adhère, du moins dans son intégralité, et une épithète qui est utilisée pour discréditer l’adversaire (2). Dans cet article, je voudrais brièvement expliquer certains aspects du positivisme tel qu’il a réellement existé, les difficultés que cette doctrine a rencontrées et l’héritage de cette tradition qui me semble défendable (et qui est en général facilement discrédité grâce à l’utilisation du label « positiviste »). Je me limiterai au positivisme « anglo-saxon », c’est-à-dire au Cercle de Vienne et à ses successeurs, qui est à la fois plus récent et plus influent, à l’échelle mondiale, que celui de Comte. De plus, j’isolerai de cet ensemble complexe de doctrines certains aspects.. (shrink)
Metaphysics and language: Quine, W. V. O. On the individuation of attributes. Körner, S. On some relations between logic and metaphysics. Marcus, R. B. Does the principle of substitutivity rest on a mistake? Van Fraassen, B. C. Platonism's pyrrhic victory. Martin, R. M. On some prepositional relations. Kearns, J. T. Sentences and propositions.--Basic and combinatorial logic: Orgass, R. J. Extended basic logic and ordinal numbers. Curry, H. B. Representation of Markov algorithms by combinators.--Implication and consistency: Anderson, A. R. Fitch on (...) consistency. Belnap, N. D., Jr. Grammatical propaedeutic. Thomason, R. H. Decidability in the logic of conditionals. Myhill, J. Levels of implication.--Deontic, epistemic, and erotetic logic: Bacon, J. Belief as relative knowledge. Wu, K. J. Believing and disbelieving. Kordig, C. R. Relativized deontic modalities. Harrah, D. A system for erotetic sentences. (shrink)
I propose to consider the question, "Can machines think?" This should begin with definitions of the meaning of the terms "machine" and "think." The definitions might be framed so as to reflect so far as possible the normal use of the words, but this attitude is dangerous, If the meaning of the words "machine" and "think" are to be found by examining how they are commonly used it is difficult to escape the conclusion that the meaning and the answer to (...) the question, "Can machines think?" is to be sought in a statistical survey such as a Gallup poll. But this is absurd. Instead of attempting such a definition I shall replace the question by another, which is closely related to it and is expressed in relatively unambiguous words. The new form of the problem can be described in terms of a game which we call the 'imitation game." It is played with three people, a man (A), a woman (B), and an interrogator (C) who may be of either sex. The interrogator stays in a room apart front the other two. The object of the game for the interrogator is to determine which of the other two is the man and which is the woman. He knows them by labels X and Y, and at the end of the game he says either "X is A and Y is B" or "X is B and Y is A." The interrogator is allowed to put questions to A and B. We now ask the question, "What will happen when a machine takes the part of A in this game?" Will the interrogator decide wrongly as often when the game is played like this as he does when the game is played between a man and a woman? These questions replace our original, "Can machines think?". (shrink)
This volume brings together a range of influential essays by distinguished philosophers and political theorists on the issue of global justice. Global justice concerns the search for ethical norms that should govern interactions between people, states, corporations and other agents acting in the global arena, as well as the design of social institutions that link them together. The volume includes articles that engage with major theoretical questions such as the applicability of the ideals of social and economic equality to the (...) global sphere, the degree of justified partiality to compatriots, and the nature and extent of the responsibilities of the affluent to address global poverty and other hardships abroad. It also features articles that bring the theoretical insights of global justice thinkers to bear on matters of practical concern to contemporary societies, such policies associated with immigration, international trade, and climate change. -/- Contents: Introduction; Part I Standards of Global Justice: (i) Assistance-Based Responsibilities to the Global Poor: Famine, affluence and mortality, Peter Singer; We don't owe them a thing! A tough-minded but soft-hearted view of aid to the faraway needy, Jan Narveson; Does distance matter morally to the duty to rescue? Frances Myrna Kamm. (ii) Contribution-Based Responsibilities to the Global Poor: 'Assisting' the global poor, Thomas Pogge; Should we stop thinking about poverty in terms of helping the poor?, Alan Patten; Poverty and the moral significance of contribution, Gerhard Øverland. (iii)Cosmopolitans, Global Egalitarians, and its Critics: The one and the many faces of cosmopolitanism, Catherine Lu; Cosmopolitan justice and equalizing opportunities, Simon Caney; The problem of global justice, Thomas Nagel; Against global egalitarianism, David Miller; Egalitarian challenges to global egalitarianism: a critique, Christian Barry and Laura Valentini. Part II Pressing Global Socioeconomic Issues: (i) Governing the Flow of People: Immigration and freedom of association, Christopher Wellman; Democratic theory and border coercion: no right to unilaterally control your own borders, Arash Abizadeh; Justice in migration: a closed borders utopia?, Lea Ypi. (ii) Climate Change: Global environment and international inequality, Henry Shue; Valuing policies in response to climate change: some ethical issues, John Broome; Saved by disaster? Abrupt climate change, political inertia, and the possibility of an intergenerational arms race, Stephen M. Gardiner; Polycentric systems for coping with collective action and global environmental change, Elinor Ostrom. (iii) International Trade: Responsibility and global labor justice, Iris Marion Young; Property rights and the resource curse, Leif Wenar; Fairness in trade I: obligations arising from trading and the pauper-labor argument, Mathias Risse; Name index. -/- See: www.ashgate.com/default.aspx?page=637&calctitle=1&pageSubject=483&sort=pubdate&forthcoming=1&title_i d=9958&edition_id=13385. (shrink)
Psychologists and philosophers have recently been exploring whether the mechanisms which underlie the acquisition of ‘theory of mind’ (ToM) are best charac- terized as cognitive modules or as developing theories. In this paper, we attempt to clarify what a modular account of ToM entails, and why it is an attractive type of explanation. Intuitions and arguments in this debate often turn on the role of develop- ment: traditional research on ToM focuses on various developmental sequences, whereas cognitive modules are thought (...) to be static and ‘anti-developmental’. We suggest that this mistaken view relies on an overly limited notion of modularity, and we explore how ToM might be grounded in a cognitive module and yet still afford development. Modules must ‘come on-line’, and even fully developed modules may still develop internally, based on their constrained input. We make these points con- crete by focusing on a recent proposal to capture the development of ToM in a module via parameterization. (shrink)
I.1. Introduction Confirmation theory is intended to codify the evidential bearing of observations on hypotheses, characterizing relations of inductive “support” and “countersupport” in full generality. The central task is to understand what it means to say that datum E confirms or supports a hypothesis H when E does not logically entail H.
We consider and reject a variety of attempts to provide a ground for identifying and differentiating disembodied minds. Until such a ground is provided, we must withhold inclusion of disembodied minds from our picture of the world.
Psychologists and philosophers have recently been exploring whether the mechanisms which underlie the acquisition of ‘theory of mind’ (ToM) are best charac- terized as cognitive modules or as developing theories. In this paper, we attempt to clarify what a modular account of ToM entails, and why it is an attractive type of explanation. Intuitions and arguments in this debate often turn on the role of _develop-_ _ment_: traditional research on ToM focuses on various developmental sequences, whereas cognitive modules are thought (...) to be static and ‘anti-developmental’. We suggest that this mistaken view relies on an overly limited notion of modularity, and we explore how ToM might be grounded in a cognitive module and yet still afford development. Modules must ‘come on-line’, and even fully developed modules may still develop _internally_, based on their constrained input. We make these points con- crete by focusing on a recent proposal to capture the development of ToM in a module via _parameterization_. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Introduction; 1. Teleology, Platonic and Aristotelian David Sedley; 2. Biology and metaphysics in Aristotle Robert Bolton; 3. The unity and purpose of On the Parts of Animals I James G. Lennox; 4. An Aristotelian puzzle about definition: Metaphysics Z.12 Alan Code; 5. Unity of definition in Metaphysics H.6 and Z.12 Mary Louise Gill; 6. Definition in Aristotle's Posterior Analytics Pierre Pellegrin; 7. Male and female in Aristotle's Generation of Animals Aryeh Kosman; 8. Metaphysics Θ. 7 (...) and 8: some issues concerning actuality and potentiality David Charles; 9. Where is the activity? Sarah Broadie; 10. Political community and the highest good John M. Cooper; Publications of Allan Gotthelf. (shrink)
Standard models of cognition are built from abstract, amodal, arbitrary symbols, and the meanings of those symbols are given solely by their interrelations. The target article (Glenberg 1997t) argues that these models must be inadequate because meaning cannot arise from relations among abstract symbols. For cognitive representations to be meaningful they must, at the least, be grounded; but abstract symbols are difficult, if not impossible, to ground. As an alternative, the target article developed a framework in which representations are grounded (...) in perception and action, and hence are embodied. Recent work (Glenberg & Robertson 1999; 2000; Glenberg & Kaschak 2002; Kaschak & Glenberg 2000) extends this framework to language. (shrink)
Alan Turing advocated a kind of functionalism: A machine M is a thinker provided that it responds in certain ways to certain inputs. Davidson argues that Turing’s functionalism is inconsistent with a certain kind of epistemic externalism, and is therefore false. In Davidson’s view, concepts consist of causal liasons of a certain kind between subject and object. Turing’s machine doesn’t have the right kinds of causal liasons to its environment. Therefore it doesn’t have concepts. Therefore it doesn’t think. I (...) argue that this reasoning is entirely fallacious. It is true that, in some cases, a causal liason between subject and object is part of one’s concept of that object. Consequently, to grasp certain propositions, one must have certain kids of causal ties to one’s environment. But this means that we must rethink some old views on what rationality is. It does not mean, pace Davidson, that a precondition for being rational is being causally embedded in one’s environment in a certain way. If Turing’s machine isn’t capable of thinking (I leave it open whether it is or is not), that has nothing to do with its lacking certain kinds of causal connections to the environment. The larger significance of our discussion is this: rationality consists either in one’s ability to see the bearing of purely existential propositions on one another or rationality is simply not to be understood as the ability see the bearing that propositions have on one another. (shrink)
The debate over off-line simulation has largely focussed on the capacity to predict behavior, but the basic idea of off-line simulation can be cast in a much broader framework. The central claim of the off-line account of behavior prediction is that the practical reasoning mechanism is taken off-line and used for predicting behavior. However, there's no reason to suppose that the idea of off-line simulation can't be extended to mechanisms other than the practical reasoning system. In principle, any cognitive component (...) can be taken off-line and used to perform some other function. On this view of off-line simulation, such accounts differ radically from traditional information-based accounts of cognitive capacities. And cognitive penetrability provides a wedge for empirically determining whether a capacity requires an information-based account or an off-line simulation account. Stich and Nichols (1992) argued that the simulation theory of behavior prediction was inadequate because behavior prediction seemed to be cognitively penetrable. We present empirical evidence that supports the claim that the behavior prediction is cognitively penetrable. As a result, the simulation account of behavior prediction still seems unpromising. However, off-line simulation might provide accounts of other cognitive capacities. Indeed, off- line simulation accounts have recently been offered for a strikingly diverse set of capacities including counterfactual reasoning, empathy and mental imagery. Goldman, for instance, maintains that counterfactual reasoning and empathy clearly demand off-line simulation accounts. We argue that there are alternative information-based explanations of these phenomena. Nonetheless, the off-line accounts of these phenomena are interesting and clearly worthy of further exploration. (shrink)
Even long after their formal exclusion has come to an end, members of previously oppressed social groups often continue to face disproportionate restrictions on their freedom, as the experience of many women over the last century has shown. Working within in a framework in which freedom is understood as independence from arbitrary power, Mary Wollstonecraft provides an explanation of why such domination may persist and offers a model through which it can be addressed. Republicans rely on processes of rational public (...) deliberation to highlight and combat oppression. However, where domination is primarily social rather than legal or political (such as where cultural attitudes, traditions and values exert an arbitrary and inhibiting force) then this defence against domination is often negated. Prejudice, she argues, ‘clouds’ people’s ability to reason and skews debate in favour of the dominant powers, thereby entrenching patterns of subjection. If they are to be independent, then, citizens require not only political rights but a platform from which to add their perspectives and interests to the background social values which govern political discussion. (shrink)
Theories that propose a modular basis for developing a “theory of mind” have no problem accommodating social interaction or social environment factors into either the learning process, or into the genotypes underlying the growth of the neurocognitive modules. Instead, they can offer models which constrain and hence explain the mechanisms through which variations in social interaction affect development. Cognitive models of both competence and performance are critical to evaluating the basis of correlations between variations in social interaction and performance on (...) mental state reasoning tasks. (shrink)