The theme of this essay is rather simple, though its demonstration is not. It is that humans think reflexively or metamentally because -- and often in the forms in which -- they interpret each other. In this essay ‘metamental’ means ‘about mental’ and ‘reflexive mind’ means ‘a mind thinking about its own thoughts.’ To think reflexively or metamentally is to think about thoughts deliberately and explicitly, as in thinking that my current thoughts about metamentation are right. Thinking about thoughts requires (...) understanding thoughts as thoughts, as mental structures that represent; it also requires an ability to relate thoughts to other thoughts and to recognize such inter-thought relations. Since metamentation is essential to and uniquely distinctive of human minds, the idea that it originates in interpreting other minds can be encapsulated in the slogan that minds are minded because minds mind minds. This word play translates as: minds evolve into reflexive minds because they mind other minds -- where ‘minding other minds’ means interacting and bonding with other minds, being concerned or curious about them, representing their relations to the world, manipulating and using these relations for some purpose, and the like. All of this amounts (in my terminology) to interpreting other minds in social contexts of cooperation, communication, education, politics, and so on. It follows that intermental relations among individuals, handled by a distinct competence for interpretation, are essential to the evolution of abilities to represent intramental relations among thoughts, typical of a reflexive mind. I take ‘interpretation’ to be a convenient, short, and grammatically flexible label for what is known in philosophy as commonsense or folk psychology and in psychology as theory of mind, mindreading, or naive psychology. Interpretation is a cognitive rapport between an interpreter (she, in this book) and a subject (he), whereby she represents his mind-world relations, from the simplest, such as seeing.... (shrink)
Eliminativism assumes that commonsense psychology describes and explains the mind in terms of the internal design and operation of the mind. If this assumption is invalidated, so is eliminativism. The same conditional is true of intentional realism. Elsewhere (Bogdan 1991) I have argued against this 'folk- theory-theory' assumption by showing that commonsense psychology is not an empirical prototheory of the mind but a biosocially motivated practice of coding, utilizing, and sharing information from and about conspecifics. Here, without presupposing a (...) specific analysis of commonsense psychology, I want to challenge a key implication of the 'folk-theory-theory' assumption to the effect that commonsense psychology is committed to a definite architecture of the mind. (shrink)
Some of the topics presented in this volume of original essays on contemporary approaches to belief include the problem of misrepresentation and false belief, conscious versus unconscious belief, explicit versus tacit belief, and the durable versus ephemeral question of the nature of belief. The contributors, Fred Dretske, Keith Lehrer, William Lycan, Stephen Schiffer, Stephen P. Stich, and the editor, Radu Bogdan, focus on the mental realization of belief, its cognitive and behavioral aspects, and the semantic aspects of its content. (...) This interdisciplinary study takes advantage of many new theories in what has become an important area of research. (shrink)
Aside from brute force, there are several philosophically respectable ways of eliminating the mental. In recent years the most popular elimination strategy has been directed against our common sense or folk psychological understanding of the mental. The strategy goes by the name of eliminative materialism (or eliminativism, in short). The motivation behind this strategy seems to be the following. If common sense psychology can be construed as the principled theory of the mental, whose vocabulary and principles implicitly define what counts (...) as mental, then eliminating the theory is eliminating its subject matter. If the theory is shown to be false, then its subject matter does not exist. If, in other words, common sense psychology can be shown to describe and explain nothing real in human cognition, then the mental itself is a fiction. (shrink)
If we are serious about concepts, we must begin by addressing two questions: What are concepts for, what is their job? And what means are available in an organism for concepts to do their job? One is a question of raison d'.
Our perceptions, beliefs, thoughts and memories have objects. They are about or of things and properties around us. I perceive her, have beliefs about her, think of her and have memories of her. How are we to construe this aboutness (or ofness) of our cognitive states?' There are four major choices on the philosophical market. There is an interaction approach which says that the object of cognition is fixed by and understood in terms of what cognizers physically and sensorily interact (...) with - or, alternatively, in terms of what the information delivered by such interaction is about. There is the satisfactional approach which says that the object of a cognitive state is whatever satisfies the representation constitutive of that state. There is also a hybrid approach which requires both physical/sensory interaction and representational satisfaction in the fixation of the object of cognition. And there is, finally, the direct acquaintance approach which says that only an immediate cognitive contact with things and properties can establish them as objects of cognition. The latter, as far as I can tell, goes the way perception goes, so only the remaining three approaches look like serious contenders. (shrink)
What is it that one thinks or believes when one thinks or believes something? A mental formula? A sentence in some natural language? Its truth conditions? Or perhaps an abstract proposition? The current story of content is fairly ecumenical. It says that a number of aspects, some mental, other semantic, go into our understanding of content. Yet the current story is incomplete. It leaves out a very important aspect of content, one which I call incremental information. It is information in (...) a specific format, information as a limited or local increment, structured by a number of underlying parameters. It is in the form of such increments that information drives cognition and behavior. This is why, perhaps of all aspects of content, it is incremental information which matters most when we want to understand cognitive attitudes and performances. This in turn must have an impact on our philosophical notions of content, propositional attitudes, inference, justification and knowledge. (shrink)
Pretend play and pretense develop in distinct phases of childhood as ontogenetically adaptive responses to pressures speciﬁc to those phases, and may have evolved in different periods of human ancestry. These are pressures to assimilate cultural artifacts, norms, roles, and behavioral scripts. The playful and creative elements in both forms of pretending are dictated by the variable, open-ended, and evolving nature and function of the cultural tasks they handle. The resulting creativity of the adult intellect is likely to be a (...) distant and indirect by-product of temporary and speciﬁc ontogenetic responses to temporary and speciﬁc ontogenetic challenges, particularly cultural ones. (shrink)
If there is a dogma in the contemporary philosophy of the cognitive mind, it must be the notion that cognition is semantic causation or, differently put, that it is semantics that runs the psyche. This is what the notion of psychosemantics and (often) intentionality are all about. Another dogma, less widespread than the first but almost equally potent, is that common sense psychology is the implicit theory of psychosemantics. The two dogmas are jointly encapsulated in the following axiom. Mental attitudes (...) such as beliefs and desires have essentially semantic contents, or are semantically evaluable. (This is why they are called propositional attitudes.) Mental attitudes have causal powers in virtue of their semantic properties. The content of an attitude has causal powers qua semantic, or more exactly in virtue of its syntactic structure which reflects relevant semantic properties and relations. (Propositions attitudinized cause in virtue of their semantically sensitive syntax.) It is the fact that mental attitudes cause in virtue of being semantic that explains why the cognitive mind is essentially semantic and why common sense psychology is implicitly true of the semantic mind. (shrink)
The contributors to this volume examine current controversies about the importance of common sense psychology for our understanding of the human mind. Common sense provides a familiar and friendly psychological scheme by which to talk about the mind. Its categories (belief, desire, intention, consciousness, emotion, and so on) tend to portray the mind as quite different from the rest of nature, and thus irreducible to physical matters and its laws. In this volume a variety of positions on common sense psychology (...) from critical to supportive, from exegetical to speculative, are represented. Among the questions posed are: Is common sense psychology an empirical theory, a body of analytic knowledge, a practice, or a strategy? If it is a legitimate enterprise can it be naturalized or not? If it is not legitimate can it be eliminated? Is its fate tied to our understanding of consciousness? Should we approach its concepts and generalizations from the standpoint of conceptual analysis or from the philosophy of science? (shrink)
Information is the fuel of cognition. At its most basic level, information is a matter of structures interacting under laws. The notion of information thus reflects the (relational) fact that a structure is created by the impact of another structure. The impacted structure is an encoding, in some concrete form, of the interaction with the impacting structure. Information is, essentially, the structural trace in some system of an interaction with another system; it is also, as a consequence, the structural fuel (...) which drives the impacted system's subsequent processes and behavior. Information takes various forms because the world has many levels of compositional and functional complexity, under different constraints. The key constraints that matter in the understanding of information are natural patterns of organization, or types, and systematic correlations among types, or laws. These level- sensitive constraints, in the form of types and laws, shape the very form in which information is tokened in some structure, that is, the very form in which it is encoded. As a result, the information-producing interactions bring about different sorts of structures, with various sorts of causal effects and functions, whence so many ways in which information is coded and utilized. (shrink)
Self-ascriptions of thoughts and attitudes depend on a sense of the intentionality of one’s own mental states, which develops later than, and independently of, the sense of the intentionality of the thoughts and attitudes of others. This sense of the self-intentionality of one’s own mental states grows initially out of executive developments that enable one to simulate one’s own actions and perceptions, as genuine off-line thoughts, and to regulate such simulations.
Almost everybody believes, but nobody has conclusively shown, that common sense psychology is a descriptive body of knowledge about the mind, the way physics is about elementary particles or medicine about bodily conditions. Of course, common sense psychology helps itself to many notions about the mind. This does not show that common sense psychology is about the mind. Physics also helps itself to plenty of mathematical notions, without being about mathematical entities and relations. Employment of notions about the mind does (...) not by itself establish the nature and business of common sense psychology. To find out what the latter's notions are about requires finding out what they are for. To find out what they are for, we should start by asking who employs them in what contexts and for what reasons. If we consider seriously these questions, we should not be too surprised to find out that: (1) A subject is an agent busily pursuing his worldly interests. In the process, he encodes, operates on, can be read for, and often deliberately conveys information about his current as well as past or future cognitive and behavioral states, and about the world around him, as it was, is, and could be. (2) A sense maker is also a busy agent. To pursue her worldly.. (shrink)
In spite of of its name, cognitive science is not yet a fully coherent and integrated science but rather a fairly loose coalition of largely independent disciplines, some descriptive and empirical (cognitive psychology, linguistics, neuroscience, cognitive anthropology), some speculative and foundational (philosophy), others both speculative and applied (artificial intelligence). What brought these disciplines together and still sustains their interdisciplinary cooperation is the dedication to explain, simulate and technically reproduce the workings of the human mind according to a distinct and rather (...) well defined research program. This program has been so far the animating spirit and the integrative force in the formation and development of cognitive science. I will call it the 'core program.' Around the core program there is a much looser and less coherent outer paradigm, or set of paradigms, which historically has prepared the ground for the core program, to which the participating disciplines have contributed their insights, results and methods, and still do, and from which challenges to the core program have emerged and are likely to do so in the future. (shrink)
In the 1960’s and 70’s Jaakko Hintikka has written extensively about epistemic logic, epistemic concepts and ordinary epistemic discourse. As a (graduate) student of Jaakko’s toward the end of that period, I was somewhat familiar with that body of work and even discussed some fragments of it in my dissertation on the pragmatics of knowledge. Since then my interests developed in different directions, toward philosophy of mind and cognitive science in general and commonsense or naive psychology in particular. This (...) paper looks back at Jaakko’s work on epistemic discourse from the vantage point of my later work on naive psychology. (shrink)
Communication by shared meaning, themastery of word semantics,metarepresentation and metamentation aremental abilities, uniquely human, that share a sense ofintentionality or reference. The latteris developed by a naive psychology or interpretation – acompetence dedicated to representingintentional relations between conspecifics and the world. Theidea that interpretation builds new mentalabilities around a sense of reference is based on three linesof analysis – conceptual, psychological andevolutionary. The conceptual analysis reveals that a senseof reference is at the heart of the abilitiesin question. Psychological data track (...) tight developmentalcorrelations between interpretation and theabilities it designs. Finally, an evolutionary hypothesislooks at why interpretation designed thosenew abilities around a sense of reference. (shrink)
Many philosophers and a few psychologists think that we understand our own minds before we understand those of others. Most developmental psychologists think that children understand their own minds at about the same time they understand other minds, by using the same cognitive abilities. I disagree with both views. I think that children understand other minds before they understand their own. Their self-understanding depends on some cognitive abilities that develop later than, and independently of, the abilities involved in understanding other (...) minds. This is the general theme of this chapter. (shrink)
A distinguished wise man, Emil Cioran, with whom I share a country of birth and the thought that follows, said once that the two most interesting things in life are gossip and metaphysics. I can hardly think of a more self evident and enjoyable truth, if wisely construed. This volume combines the two pleasures, for it is an exercise in the metaphysics of wise gossip, of how we make sense of each other, and how, as a result we interpret, explain, (...) rationalize and evaluate our representations and actions. The body of wisdom which allows us to do all this is currently currently called folk or common sense psychology. I will also call it psychofolklore or the folklore of the mind. (shrink)
Abstract This paper approaches the school censorship question and its implications for learning values through literature by focusing on the incidents of a particular case, that of Peterborough County, Ontario, Canada, and by examining the attack on, defence of, and counterargument to the apologia offered for teaching Margaret Laurence's The Diviners. The first part chronicles the actual events within their political context; the second challenges the epistemological assumptions underlying the conception of literature as a reflection or representation of life, in (...) which values are thought to be ?absorbed? by the reader through emotional engagement with a ?transparent? text. The paper concludes with a reformulation of the grounds for learning values through literature, based on the notion of literature as the construction of fictional worlds whose values are decoded by acts of literary criticism. (shrink)
This chapter provides the teleological foundations for our analysis of guidance to goal. Its objective is to ground goal-directedness genetically. The basic suggestion is this. Organisms are small things, with few energy resources and puny physical means, battling a ruthless physical and biological nature. How do they manage to survive and multiply? CLEVERLY, BY ORGANIZING.
Heyes’s skepticism about theory of mind (ToM) in nonhuman primates exploits the idea of a strong and unified theory of mind in humans based on an unanalyzed category of mental state. It also exploits narrow debates about crucial observations and experiments while neglecting wider evolutionary trends. I argue against both exploitations.
There is a wide and puzzleful gap between the child’s mastery of first- and recursive or higher-order attributions of attitudes, measured not only in years but also in the cognitive resources involved. Some accounts explain the gap in terms of the maturation of the competencies involved, others invoke the slow development of enabling resources, such as short-term memory, the syntax of sentence embedding or sequential reasoning. All these accounts assume a continuity of competence between first- and higher-order attributions. I disagree (...) and argue, with psychological and neuroscientific support, that there are two distinct (though developmentally overlapping and interacting) competencies, one metaintentional and the other metarepresentational. I focus below on the former and argue that it is egocentric, situated, nonpropositional and thus intrinsically limited to first-order attributions, even when all the enabling resources are in place. (shrink)
Heyes's (1998) skepticism about theory of mind (ToM) in nonhuman primates exploits the idea of a strong and unified theory of mind in humans based on an unanalyzed category of mental state. It also exploits narrow debates about crucial observations and experiments while neglecting wider evolutionary trends. I argue against both exploitations.
BIBLIOGRAPHY OF RODERICK M. CHISHOLM 1941 (a) 'Sextus Empiricus and Modern Empiricism', Philosophy of Science VIII, 371-384. 1942 (a) 'The Problem of the Speckled Hen', Mind u, 368-373. 1943 (a) Review of 'Lewin's Topological and Vector ...
Our Own Minds presents an account of the nature and development of self-consciousness. Bogdan describes the mind of the infant as outward looking, turning in on itself only at a relatively late stage of development. This it does as a response to the increasingly sophisticated sociocultural pressures it faces throughout infancy and early childhood. The book is difficult to follow (about which, more later) but the main line of argument is this: to begin with, infants are attuned to their (...) physical and sociocultural environment, employing an early form of intuitive psychology, a practical capacity to interact with conspecifics, referred to by Bogdan as 'naïve psychology' (129). However, infants are faced with a series of sociocultural tasks (109-12), the implementation of which requires them to develop various executive capacities (105-9) which 'install' a form of self-consciousness, dubbed by Bogdan 'extrovert self-consciousness' (99-100). The increasingly demanding nature of these sociocultural tasks has the consequence that, around the age of 4, intuitive psychology undergoes a shift, becoming 'commonsense psychology' (129-30). This enables children to represent others' propositional attitudes and to think 'offline' (129-30). These new abilities and associated executive capacities, in their turn, 'install' a new form of self-consciousness, 'introvert self-consciousness' (159). Whilst the child's intuitive psychology and self-consciousness continue to develop until adolescence (33), this is where the book's central argument ends. (shrink)
In this book, Bogdan offers an empirically informed theory of the emergence and nature of predication with unmistakable pragmatic and developmental overtones. While the emphasis on psycho-pragmatic and developmental factors is most welcome, and while the discussion is informed and informative, Bogdan’s thesis suffers from some major weaknesses, in particular philosophical ones. Chief among these is an insufficient clarity with regard to the problem domain being addressed: Bogdan professes to offer a theory of predication as a general (...) mental faculty but in reality he focuses on a rather narrower phenomenon. This narrow delineation of the problem domain, and Bogdan’s insistence on the discontinuity between full-fledged human predication and animal thought patterns, leads to a theoretical impasse that renders the very coherence of his proposal dubitable. (shrink)
In this paper, I consider the objection, raised by Radu Bogdan, that a teleological theory of content is unable to ascribe content to a general-purpose, doxastic system. I begin by giving some attention to the notion of general-purpose representation, and suggest that this notion can best be understood as what I term "interest-independent" representation. I then outline Bogdan's objection in what I take to be its simplest form. I attempt to counter the objection by explaining how a teleologist (...) might ascribe content in a particular case - the case of a perceptual judgement whose content is learned. I reject the idea that the teleologist can appeal to the way in which the subject has used the judgement, or its constituent concepts, in the past, on the grounds that it is possible for the subject to produce judgements and concepts that never help her to satisfy any of her interests. Instead, my account depends on the idea that the process of learning is regulated by a mechanism whose function is to produce a harmony between the information carried by perceptual judgements and the way in which they are used in inference. (shrink)
The system presented by the author in The Logical Foundations of Statistical Inference (Kyburg 1974) suffered from certain technical difficulties, and from a major practical difficulty; it was hard to be sure, in discussing examples and applications, when you had got hold of the right reference class. The present paper, concerned mainly with the characterization of randomness, resolves the technical difficulties and provides a well structured framework for the choice of a reference class. The definition of randomness that leads to (...) this framework is simplified and clarified in a number of respects. It resolves certain puzzles raised by S. Spielman and W. Harper in their contributions to Profiles: Henry E. Kyburg, Jr. and Isaac Levi (R. Bogdan (ed.) 1982). (shrink)
Notre enquête porte sur la réception à la fois philosophique et théologique de la pensée de saint Thomas d’Aquin dans la culture roumaine à l’âge moderne.Nous avons essayé de marquer les étapes principales d’une histoire qui reflète dans une culture religieuse d’origine byzantine les tribulations de la réception dela philosophie médiévale en Occident. Formés dans les universités françaises ou allemandes, les philosophes et les théologiens orthodoxes roumains sont redevables aussi bien aux traditions philosophiques des XVIIIᵉ-XIXᵉ siècles qu’à la découverte gilsonienne (...) de la pensée médiévale. Entre polémique confessionnelle et approche scientifique, saint Thomas d’Aquin devient au XXᵉ siècle une présence significative dans les discours philosophiques et théologiques roumains (notamment dans le débat concernant la possibilité d’une philosophie chrétienne), en dépit d’une préférence traditionnelle accordée à saint Augustin. Il importe de remarquer aussi le fait que la spécificité des approches des philosophes roumains de la pensée de saint Thomas d’Aquin consiste dans l’effort de transgresser un thomisme «historique» vers des possibles enjeux modernes. (shrink)
In this article I analyze a traditional interpretation of Platonic philosophy, which assumes a "theory of two worlds." I try to prove that it is difficult to accept such an interpretation. If one can say that the on tic status of ideas differs from the ontic status of undefined matter (the phenomenon is always for Plato a relation, a compositum, of idea and undefined matter), one nevertheless cannot say that accepting this necessarily results in accepting two independently existing worlds. For (...) then what would phenomena be, if they lacked the ideas that are the source of their determination; and what would ideas themselves be, if they referred to something other than the subject of their determination? Plato always opted for the existence of one world, although this world was for him ontically complex. (shrink)
We investigate first order sentences valid in completions of a given partial algebraic structure - a partial model. We give semantic and syntactic description of the set of all sentences valid in every completion of the given partial model - first order theory of this model.
This paper presents the first purely algebraic characterization of classes of partial algebras definable by a set of strong equations. This result was posible due to new tools such as invariant congruences, i.e. a generalization of the notion of a fully invariant congruence, and extension of algebras, specific for strong equations.
The paper discusses the Christological bearing of certain Byzantine festal hymns, whose roots stretch back to the early Christian tradition, but which are still used in the services of the Orthodox Church. These hymns avoid the vocabulary of their contemporary dogmatic debates, and offer an alternative poetic theology deeplyrooted in Biblical imagery, yet surprisingly precise and effective in conveying the very same message about Christ. This finding opens up the discussion of theological method, namely the question of how these hymns (...) could be taken into account as direct sources for theology, on a par with the data provided by the ecumenical councils, and the subsequent patristic and medieval theology. (shrink)
Conventionalism in sport philosophy has been rejected as unable to provide a theory of normativity and as collapsing in ethical relativism, but this criticism is rather imprecise about its target, which invites doubt about the legitimacy of the concept of conventionalism described by its critics. Instead, a more charitable and legitimate account of conventionalism is proposed, one that draws inspiration from conventionalism in axiomatic geometry and is able to avoid the counterarguments directed against conventionalism. This new model allows for a (...) number of non-conventional elements of sport, namely the definition of sport and certain central moral norms, while at the same time arguing that normativity in sport is not exhausted by them, which leaves athletic communities with authority over a broad range of norms. (shrink)
The present study aims to provide a critical analysis of the account of modernity and modern thinkers done by the Austrian philosopher Eric Voegelin, arguably one of the most important political thinkers of the twentieth century. Eric Voegelin is a leading figure among those who considered it pertinent to speak about a crisis of modernity, primarily seen as a crisis of the spirit. The present study stresses Voegelin’s original analysis of “the ideological soul” of modern thinkers, his effort to go (...) beyond a merely descriptive approach, and to define ideological thinking as a spiritually diseased pattern of thought rooted in an existential attitude. At the same time, I critically discuss some problematic consequences of Voegelin’s position, the possible flaws in his treatment of modern philosophers, perhaps too harshly seen as “intellectual swindlers” whose main concern was the distortion of fundamental experiences. (shrink)
Abstract Values clarification (VC) continues to be criticized for its conception of the ends as well as the means of moral education. Responding to Dwight Boyd and Deanne Bogdan's recent critique of values clarification, this paper suggests a new perspective from which to reassess this approach to moral education. In doing so, it locates Values Clarification within a long and rich tradition of ethical and educational theory. Its critics, including Boyd and Bogdan, reflect viewpoints belonging to a competing (...) tradition. The key unresolved differences between these two competing traditions are highlighted with a view to showing that, contrary to the allegations of its critics, VC does not hold arbitrary or mistaken conceptions of ?morality? and ?education?, but merely conceptions which are currently not as popular. While providing new grounds for the assessment of VC, this paper also attempts to expand the scope of the dialogue on moral education by drawing attention to a compelling, yet insufficiently studied tradition in ethics and education. (shrink)