Stich & Ravenscroft (1994) have argued that (contrary to most people's initial assumptions) a simulation account of folk psychology may be consistent with eliminative materialism, but they fail to bring out the full complexity or the potential significance of the relationship. Contemporary eliminativism (particularly in the Churchland version) makes two major claims: the first is a rejection of the orthodox assumption that realistically construed propositional attitudes are fundamental to human cognition; the second is the suggestion that with the advancement of (...) scientific understanding of the mind it will be possible to entirely eliminate the mentalistic and intentional from our ontology, thus dissolving the mind-body problem. The first claim (which has been argued in detail) supplies the principal grounds for accepting the second, much more ambitious and significant, claim. Robert Gordon's (1995, 1996, 2000) radical simulation theory of "folk psychology", proposed initially (Gordon, 1986) as an alternative to "theory theory" accounts of self and interpersonal understanding, but subsequently developing into a quite general challenge to symbolic computational accounts of mind, is not merely consistent with, but actually provides considerable additional support for, the first eliminativist claim. However, although radical simulationism has no use for reified propositional attitudes, it relies on another family of mentalistic and intentional notions, including perspective taking, "seeing as", pretending, imagery, and, most centrally, imagination. It is thus inconsistent with eliminativist metaphysical ambitions. Nevertheless, from this perspective the mind-body problem is transformed. Its solution no longer depends on accounting directly for the intentionality of the attitudes, but rather on accounting for the intentionality of imagination. Although standard accounts of imagination derive its intentionality from that of the attitudes, the recently proposed "perceptual activity" theory of imagery and imagination (Thomas, 1999) can provide a direct account of the intentionality of imagination that is consistent with physicalism.. (shrink)
Robert Merrihew Adams argues that it is permissible for a perfectly good moral agent to create a world less good than the best one she could create. He argues that God would exhibit the important virtue of grace in creating less than the best and that this virtue is incompatible with the merit considerations required by the standard of creating the best. In this paper I give three arguments for the compatibility of merit consideration and graciousness of God toward (...) creation. I conclude that grace would not release a perfect agent from responsibility to create the best. (shrink)
In a series of radio broadcasts, one of which is translated for the first time in this issue (pp. 21-34), Adorno and Becker claimed that modern education is profoundly inadequate. Their views on education draw heavily on Kant’s notion of Enlightenment as a process for the development of personal and social maturity and responsibility. As such, education cannot just be a training but must itself be a developmental process which takes into account not only social and political realities but also (...) the complex psychodynamics involved in learning. However, Adorno and Becker arrive at a position that is close to self-contradictory, unable to solve the paradox inherent in the idea of an education that is at once authoritative and non-conformist. This might arise from their failure to reflect on the nature of their own dialogue, and it is suggested that friendship offers the social model of a dynamic relationship of the type they sought to articulate. Despite the fact that the discussion took place in 1969, in a climate of educational debate radically different from today’s, their work raises issues and poses questions of the profoundest importance 30 years on. (shrink)
What new implications does the dynamical hypothesis have for cognitive science? The short answer is: None. The _Behavior and Brain Sciences _target article, “The dynamical hypothesis in cognitive science” by Tim Van Gelder is basically an attack on traditional symbolic AI and differs very little from prior connectionist criticisms of it. For the past ten years, the connectionist community has been well aware of the necessity of using (and understanding) dynamically evolving, recurrent network models of cognition.
Two categorization arguments pose particular problems for localist connectionist models. The internal representations of localist networks do not reflect the variability within categories in the environment, whereas networks with distributed internal representations do reflect this essential feature of categories. We provide a real biological example of perceptual categorization in the monkey that seems to require population coding (i.e., distributed internal representations).
The study that George Lakoff and Rafael Núñez call "idea analysis" and begin in their recent book Where mathematics comes from is intended to dissect mathematical concepts into their metaphorical parts, where metaphor is used in the cognitive-science sense promoted by Lakoff and Mark Johnson in Metaphors we live by and subsequent works by each of them and together. Lakoff and Núñez's analysis of the (modern) algebraic concept of group is based on the attribution to contemporary mathematics of what will (...) be widely recognizable by their name for it, the folk theory of essences. I argue that this philosophical basis for their analysis is spurious and supply an alternative analysis of the same concept within their "metaphorical" paradigm but without essences. This analysis, which I hope is more viable than theirs, is intended to support the general applicability of the paradigm by freeing it from outmoded philosophical baggage. (shrink)
Robert Chambers and Thomas Henry Huxley helped popularize science by writing for general interest publications when science was becoming increasingly professionalized. A non-professional, Chambers used his family-owned Chambers' Edinburgh Journal to report on scientific discoveries, giving his audience access to ideas that were only available to scientists who regularly attended professional meetings or read published transactions of such forums. He had no formal training in the sciences and little interest in advancing the professional status of scientists; his course (...) of action was determined by his disability and interest in scientific phenomena. His skillful reporting enabled readers to learn how the ideas that flowed from scientific innovation affected their lives, and his series of article in the Journal presenting his rudimentary ideas on evolution, served as a prelude to his important popular work, Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation. Huxley, an example of the new professional class of scientists, defended science and evolution from attacks by religious spokesmen and other opponents of evolution, informing the British public about science through his lectures and articles in such publications as Nineteenth Century. He understood that by popularizing scientific information, he could effectively challenge the old Tory establishment -- with its orthodox religious and political views -- and promote the ideas of the new class of professional scientists. In attempting to transform British society, he frequently came in conflict with theologians and others on issues in which science and religion seemed to contradict each other but refused to discuss matters of science with non-professionals like Chambers, whose popular writing struck a more resonant chord with working class readers. (shrink)