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Profile: Robert A. Wilson (University of Alberta)
Profile: Robert Kenneth Wilson (University of New England)
Profile: Robert Wilson (Cambridge University)
  1. Patricia Smith Churchland, Rick Grush, Rob Wilson & Frank Keil, Computation and the Brain.
    Two very different insights motivate characterizing the brain as a computer. One depends on mathematical theory that defines computability in a highly abstract sense. Here the foundational idea is that of a Turing machine. Not an actual machine, the Turing machine is really a conceptual way of making the point that any well-defined function could be executed, step by step, according to simple 'if-you-are-in-state-P-and-have-input-Q-then-do-R' rules, given enough time (maybe infinite time) [see COMPUTATION]. Insofar as the brain is a device whose (...)
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  2. Robert A. Wilson, Critical Review Of.
    The philosophy of biology began to develop as a distinct field within the philosophy of science in the early 1970s, shortly before Philip Kitcher turned from mathematics and physics to biology in his thinking about general issues concerning the nature of science. Not only did the answers to traditional questions within the field seem problematic once one turned from the “hard sciences” to the softer biological sciences, but the questions themselves came to be viewed as less obviously the right ones (...)
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  3. Robert A. Wilson, Human Nature Review.
    The philosophy of biology began to develop as a distinct field within the philosophy of science in the early 1970s, shortly before Philip Kitcher turned from mathematics and physics to biology in his thinking about general issues concerning the nature of science. Not only did the answers to traditional questions within the field seem problematic once one turned from the “hard sciences” to the softer biological sciences, but the questions themselves came to be viewed as less obviously the right ones (...)
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  4. Robert A. Wilson (forthcoming). Primary and Secondary Qualities. In Matthew Stuart (ed.), Blackwell Companion to Locke. Blackwell.
    The first half of this review article on Locke on primary and secondary qualities leads up to a fairly straightforward reading of what Locke says about the distinction in Essay II.viii, one that, in its general outlines, represents a sympathetic understanding of Locke’s discussion. The second half of the paper turns to consider a few of the ways in which interpreting Locke on primary and secondary qualities has proven more complicated. Here we take up what is sometimes called the Berkeleyan (...)
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  5. Robert Anton Wilson (forthcoming). Synchronicity, Isomorphism, and the Implicate Order. Gnosis.
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  6. Robert McLiam Wilson (forthcoming). Eureka Street (London. Minerva.
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  7. Robin Fretwell Wilson & Martha Neff-Smith (forthcoming). An Interprofessional Journal on HealthCare Institutions' Ethical and Legal Issues. Hec Forum: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Hospitals' Ethical and Legal Issues.
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  8. Sarah Zwickle, Robyn Wilson & Doug Doohan (forthcoming). Identifying the Challenges of Promoting Ecological Weed Management (EWM) in Organic Agroecosystems Through the Lens of Behavioral Decision Making. Agriculture and Human Values.
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  9. Robert A. Wilson (2013). Extended Artistic Appreciation. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 36 (2):162-163.
    I propose that in at least some cases, objects of artistic appreciation are best thought of not simply as causes of artistic appreciation, but as parts of the cognitive machinery that drives aesthetic appreciation. In effect, this is to say that aesthetic appreciation operates via extended cognitive systems.
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  10. Robert A. Wilson (2013). Ten Questions Concerning Extended Cognition. Philosophical Psychology 27 (1):19-33.
    This paper considers ten questions that those puzzled by or skeptical of extended cognition have posed. Discussion of these questions ranges across substantive, methodological, and dialectical issues in the ongoing debate over extended cognition, such as whether the issue between proponents and opponents of extended cognition is merely semantic or a matter of convention; whether extended cognition should be treated in the same way as extended biology; and whether conscious mental states pose a special problem for the extended mind thesis. (...)
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  11. Robert A. Wilson & Matthew J. Barker, The Biological Notion of Individual. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Individuals are a prominent part of the biological world. Although biologists and philosophers of biology draw freely on the concept of an individual in articulating both widely accepted and more controversial claims, there has been little explicit work devoted to the biological notion of an individual itself. How should we think about biological individuals? What are the roles that biological individuals play in processes such as natural selection (are genes and groups also units of selection?), speciation (are species individuals?), and (...)
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  12. Jason S. Parker, Robyn S. Wilson, Jeffrey T. LeJeune & Douglas Doohan (2012). Including Growers in the “Food Safety” Conversation: Enhancing the Design and Implementation of Food Safety Programming Based on Farm and Marketing Needs of Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Producers. [REVIEW] Agriculture and Human Values 29 (3):303-319.
    Experts identified water quality, manure, good handling practices (including personal hygiene and equipment sanitation), and traceability as critical farm problem areas that, if addressed, are likely to decrease risk associated with microbial contamination of fresh produce from all scales of agriculture. However, the diverse nature of production strategies used by produce farmers presents multiple options for addressing foodborne illness issues while simultaneously creating potential complications. We use a mental models methodology to enhance our understanding of the underlying factors and assumptions (...)
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  13. Robert A. Wilson & Lucia Foglia (2011). Embodied Cognition. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Cognition is embodied when it is deeply dependent upon features of the physical body of an agent, that is, when aspects of the agent's body beyond the brain play a significant causal or physically constitutive role in cognitive processing. In general, dominant views in the philosophy of mind and cognitive science have considered the body as peripheral to understanding the nature of mind and cognition. Proponents of embodied cognitive science view this as a serious mistake. Sometimes the nature of the (...)
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  14. Matthew J. Barker & Robert A. Wilson (2010). Cohesion, Gene Flow, and the Nature of Species. Journal of Philosophy 107 (2):59-77.
    A far-reaching and influential view in evolutionary biology claims that species are cohesive units held together by gene flow. Biologists have recognized empirical problems facing this view; after sharpening the expression of the view, we present novel conceptual problems for it. At the heart of these problems is a distinction between two importantly different concepts of cohesion, what we call integrative and response cohesion. Acknowledging the distinction problematizes both the explanandum of species cohesion and the explanans of gene flow that (...)
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  15. Robert A. Wilson (2010). Extended Vision. In Nivedita Gangopadhyay, Michael Madary & Finn Spicer (eds.), Perception, Action and Consciousness. Oxford University Press..
    Vision constitutes an interesting domain, or range of domains, for debate over the extended mind thesis, the idea that minds physically extend beyond the boundaries of the body. In part this is because vision and visual experience more particularly are sometimes presented as a kind of line in the sand for what we might call externalist creep about the mind: once all reasonable concessions have been made to externalists about the mind, visual experience marks a line beyond which lies a (...)
     
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  16. Robert A. Wilson (2010). Meaning Making and the Mind of the Externalist. In Richard Menary (ed.), The Extended Mind. Mit Press. 167--188.
    This paper attempts to do two things. First, it recounts the problem of intentionality, as it has typically been conceptualized, and argues that it needs to be reconceptualized in light of the radical form of externalism most commonly referred to as the extended mind thesis. Second, it provides an explicit, novel argument for that thesis, what I call the argument from meaning making, and offers some defense of that argument. This second task occupies the core of the paper, and in (...)
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  17. Robert A. Wilson (2010). Review of Robert D. Rupert, Cognitive Systems and the Extended Mind. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2010 (3).
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  18. Robert A. Wilson (2010). Seeing, Doing, and Knowing. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 36 (1):117-132.
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  19. Robert A. Wilson (2010). The Primal Path to Kinship: A Critical Review of Bernard Chapais, Primeval Kinship: How Pair-Bonding Gave Birth to Human Society. Biology and Philosophy 25 (1):111-123.
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  20. Robert A. Wilson (2009). The Transitivity of Material Constitution. Noûs 43 (2):363-377.
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  21. Robert A. Wilson & Andy Clark (2009). How to Situate Cognition: Letting Nature Take its Course. In Murat Aydede & P. Robbins (eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Situated Cognition. Cambridge. 55--77.
    1. The Situation in Cognition 2. Situated Cognition: A Potted Recent History 3. Extensions in Biology, Computation, and Cognition 4. Articulating the Idea of Cognitive Extension 5. Are Some Resources Intrinsically Non-Cognitive? 6. Is Cognition Extended or Only Embedded? 7. Letting Nature Take Its Course.
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  22. Robin Fretwell Wilson (2009). Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Liberty: Life After Prop 8. Nexus 14:101.
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  23. Amanda Barnier, John Sutton, Celia Harris & Robert A. Wilson (2008). A Conceptual and Empirical Framework for the Social Distribution of Cognition: The Case of Memory. Cognitive Systems Research 9 (1):33-51.
  24. Robert A. Wilson (2008). Material Constitution and the Many-Many Problem. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 38 (2):pp. 201-217.
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  25. Robert A. Wilson (2008). What Computers (Still, Still) Can't Do: Jerry Fodor on Computation and Modularity. In Robert J. Stainton (ed.), New Essays in Philosophy of Language and Mind.
    Fodor's thinking on modularity has been influential throughout a range of the areas studying cognition, chiefly as a prod for positive work on modularity and domain-specificity. In The Mind Doesn't Work That Way, Fodor has developed the dark message of The Modularity of Mind regarding the limits to modularity and computational analyses. This paper offers a critical assessment of Fodor's scepticism with an eye to highlighting some broader issues in play, including the nature of computation and the role of recent (...)
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  26. Robert A. Wilson (2008). The Drink You Have When You're Not Having a Drink. Mind and Language 23 (3):273–283.
    The Architecture of the Mind is itself built on foundations that deserve probing. In this brief commentary I focus on these foundations—Carruthers’ conception of modularity, his arguments for thinking that the mind is massively modular in structure, and his view of human cognitive architecture.
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  27. Robert A. Wilson (2007). A Puzzle About Material Constitution and How to Solve It: Enriching Constitution Views in Metaphysics. Philosophers' Imprint 7 (5):1-20.
    Are materially constituted entities, such as statues and glasses of liquid, something more than their material constituents? The puzzle that frames this paper stems from conflicting answers to this question. At the core of the paper is a distinctive way of thinking about material constitution that posits two concepts of constitution, compositional and ampliative constitution, with the bulk of the discussion devoted to developing distinct analyses for these concepts. Distinguishing these concepts solves our initial puzzle and enriches the space of (...)
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  28. Robert A. Wilson (2007). Bioknowledge with Burian. Biology and Philosophy 22 (1):131-139.
  29. Robert A. Wilson, Matthew J. Barker & Ingo Brigandt (2007). When Traditional Essentialism Fails. Philosophical Topics 35 (1-2):189-215.
    Essentialism is widely regarded as a mistaken view of biological kinds, such as species. After recounting why (sections 2-3), we provide a brief survey of the chief responses to the “death of essentialism” in the philosophy of biology (section 4). We then develop one of these responses, the claim that biological kinds are homeostatic property clusters (sections 5-6) illustrating this view with several novel examples (section 7). Although this view was first expressed 20 years ago, and has received recent discussion (...)
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  30. Robert Best, George Khushf & Robin Wilson (2006). A Sympathetic but Critical Assessment of Nanotechnology Initiatives. Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 34 (4):655-657.
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  31. David Blazina, Erin Willoughby & Robin Fretwell Wilson (2006). Reviews in Medical Ethics. Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 34 (4):821-825.
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  32. Carl F. Craver & Robert A. Wilson (2006). Realization. In P. Thagard (ed.), Handbook of the Philosophy of Psychology and Cognitive Science. Elsevier.
    For the greater part of the last 50 years, it has been common for philosophers of mind and cognitive scientists to invoke the notion of realization in discussing the relationship between the mind and the brain. In traditional philosophy of mind, mental states are said to be realized, instantiated, or implemented in brain states. Artificial intelligence is sometimes described as the attempt either to model or to actually construct systems that realize some of the same psychological abilities that we and (...)
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  33. Robert A. Wilson (2006). Critical Notice. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 36 (1):117-132.
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  34. Robert A. Wilson (2006). Michael Wheeler, Reconstructing the Cognitive World: The Next Step Reviewed By. Philosophy in Review 26 (5):386-388.
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  35. Robert A. Wilson (2006). Seeing, Doing, and Knowing: A Philosophical Theory of Sense Perception (Review). Canadian Journal of Philosophy 36 (1):117-132.
    This is a critical notice of Mohan Matthen's 2005 book "Seeing, Doing, and Knowing".
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  36. Robert Andrew Wilson (2006). Seeing, Doing, and Knowing: A Philosophical Theory of Sense Perception (Review). Canadian Journal of Philosophy 36 (1):117-132.
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  37. Robert Wilson & Andy Clark (2006). Situated Cognition: Letting Nature Take its Course. In M. Aydede & P. Robbins (eds.), Cambridge Handbook of Situated Cognition.
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  38. Robin Fretwell Wilson (2006). Nanotechnology: The Challenge of Regulating Known Unknowns. Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 34 (4):704-713.
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  39. Robert A. Wilson (2005). Collective Memory, Group Minds, and the Extended Mind Thesis. Cognitive Processing 6 (4).
    While memory is conceptualized predominantly as an individual capacity in the cognitive and biological sciences, the social sciences have most commonly construed memory as a collective phenomenon. Collective memory has been put to diverse uses, ranging from accounts of nationalism in history and political science to views of ritualization and commemoration in anthropology and sociology. These appeals to collective memory share the idea that memory ‘‘goes beyond the individual’’ but often run together quite different claims in spelling out that idea. (...)
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  40. Robert A. Wilson (2005). Genes and the Agents of Life: The Individual in the Fragile Sciences, Biology. Cambridge University Press.
    What are the agents of life? Central to our conception of the biological world is the idea that it contains various kinds of individuals, including genes, organisms, and species. How we conceive of these agents of life is central to our understanding of the relationship between life and mind, the place of hierarchical thinking in the biological sciences, and pluralistic views of biological agency. Genes and the Agents of Life rethinks the place of the individual in the biological sciences, drawing (...)
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  41. Robert A. Wilson (2005). Philosophy of Psychology. In Sahotra Sarkar (ed.), The Philosophy of Science: An Encyclopedia. Routledge.
    In the good old days, when general philosophy of science ruled the Earth, a simple division was often invoked to talk about philosophical issues specific to particular kinds of science: that between the natural sciences and the social sciences. Over the last 20 years, philosophical studies shaped around this dichotomy have given way to those organized by more fine-grained categories, corresponding to specific disciplines, as the literatures on the philosophy of physics, biology, economics and psychology--to take the most prominent four (...)
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  42. Robert A. Wilson (2005). Persons, Social Agency, and Constitution. Social Philosophy and Policy 22 (2):49-69.
    In her recent book Persons and Bodies1, Lynne Rudder Baker has defended what she calls the constitution view of persons. On this view, persons are constituted by their bodies, where “constitution” is a ubiquitous, general metaphysical relation distinct from more familiar relations, such as identity and part-whole composition.
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  43. Robert A. Wilson, Review of Derek Melser, The Act of Thinking. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.
    This is a book that challenges the current orthodoxy, both in the philosophy of mind and in the cognitive sciences, that thinking (construed broadly to include perceiving, imagining, remembering, etc.) is a mental process in the head. Such a view has been largely taken for granted since the demise of behaviorism in the 1960s, and it underpins both the representational and computational theories of mind, including their connectionist and dynamicist variants. While the orthodoxy has been rejected in recent years by (...)
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  44. Robert A. Wilson (2005). What Computers (Still, Still) Can't Do: Jerry Fodor on Computation and Modularity. Canadian Journal of Philosophy Supp 30:407-425.
    Fodor's thinking on modularity has been influential throughout a range of the areas studying cognition, chiefly as a prod for positive work on modularity and domain-specificity. In _The Mind Doesn't Work That Way_, Fodor has developed the dark message of _The Modularity of Mind_ regarding the limits to modularity and computational analyses. This paper offers a critical assessment of Fodor's scepticism with an eye to highlighting some broader issues in play, including the nature of computation and the role of recent (...)
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  45. Robert A. Wilson (2004). Boundaries of the Mind: The Individual in the Fragile Sciences: Cognition. Cambridge University Press.
    Where does the mind begin and end? Robert Wilson establishes the foundations for the view that the mind extends beyond the boundary of the individual. He blends traditional philosophical analysis, cognitive science, and the history of psychology and the human sciences. Wilson then develops novel accounts of mental representation and consciousness, discussing a range of other issues, such as nativism and the idea of group minds. Boundaries of the Mind re-evaluates the place of the individual in the cognitive, biological and (...)
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  46. Robert A. Wilson (2004). Review of Kitcher. [REVIEW] Human Nature Reviews.
    The philosophy of biology began to develop as a distinct field within the philosophy of science in the early 1970s, shortly before Philip Kitcher turned from mathematics and physics to biology in his thinking about general issues concerning the nature of science. Not only did the answers to traditional questions within the field seem problematic once one turned from the “hard sciences” to the softer biological sciences, but the questions themselves came to be viewed as less obviously the right ones (...)
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  47. Robert A. Wilson (2004). Jvcä cL Not. Philosophy of Science 71:3.
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  48. Robert A. Wilson (2004). Joseph LaPorte, Natural Kinds and Conceptual Change Reviewed By. Philosophy in Review 24 (6):417-420.
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  49. Robert A. Wilson (2004). Review of Laporte on Natural Kinds. [REVIEW] Philosophy in Review 24:423-426.
    Natural Kinds and Conceptual Change is a refreshingly direct book that challenges a range of orthodox views in the philosophy of science (especially biology), the philosophy of language, and metaphysics. Amongst these are the views that species are individuals rather than natural kinds; that scientists discover the essences of natural kinds; that the causal theory of reference has commonly-ascribed implications for realism and analyticity; that there is an unacceptable form of incommensurability entailed by descriptivism about reference; and that there are (...)
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  50. Robert A. Wilson (2004). Realization: Metaphysics, Mind, and Science. Philosophy of Science 71 (5):985-996.
    For the greater part of the last 50 years, it has been common for philosophers of mind and cognitive scientists to invoke the notion of realization in discussing the relationship between the mind and the brain. In traditional philosophy of mind, mental states are said to be realized, instantiated, or implemented in brain states. Artificial intelligence is sometimes described as the attempt either to model or to actually construct systems that realize some of the same psychological abilities that we and (...)
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