One view of philosophy that is sometimes expressed, especially by scientists, is that while philosophers are good at asking questions, they are poor at producing convincing answers. And the perceived divide between philosophical and scientific methods is often pointed to as the major culprit behind this lack of progress. Looking back at the history of philosophy, however, we find that this methodological divide is a relatively recent invention. Further, it is one that has been challenged over the past decade by (...) the modern incarnation of experimental philosophy. How might the reincorporation of empirical methods into philosophy aid the process of making philosophical progress? Building off of the work of Sytsma (2010), we argue that one way it does so is by offering a means of resolving some disputes that arise in philosophy. We illustrate how philosophical disputes may sometimes be resolved empirically by looking at the recent experimental literature on intuitions about reference. (shrink)
The practice of conceptual analysis has undergone a revival in recent years. Although the extent of its role in philosophy is controversial, many now accept that conceptual analysis has at least some role to play. Granting this, I consider the relevance of empirical investigation to conceptual analysis. I do so by contrasting an extreme position (anti-empirical conceptual analysis) with a more moderate position (non-empirical conceptual analysis). I argue that anti-empirical conceptual analysis is not a viable position because it has no (...) means for resolving conceptual disputes that arise between seemingly competent speakers of the language. This is illustrated by considering one such dispute that has been pressed by a prominent advocate of anti-empirical conceptual analysis: Bennett and Hacker ( 2003 ) assert that psychological predicates only logically apply to whole living animals, but many scientists and philosophers use the terms more broadly. I argue that to resolve such disputes we need to empirically investigate the common understanding of the terms at issue. I then show how this can be done by presenting the results of three studies concerning the application of “calculates” to computers. (shrink)
Using structural equations and directed graphs, Christopher Hitchcock (2007a) proposes a theory specifying the circumstances in which counterfactual dependence of one event e on another event c is necessary and sufficient for c to count as an actual cause of e. In this paper, we argue that Hitchcock is committed to a widely-endorsed folk attribution desideratum (FAD) for theories of actual causation. We then show experimentally that Hitchcock’s theory does not satisfy the FAD, and hence, it is in need of (...) revision. (shrink)
Machery, Mallon, Nichols, and Stich [2004; forthcoming] use experimental methods to raise a spectre of doubt about reliance on intuitions in developing theories of reference which are then deployed in philosophical arguments outside the philosophy of language. Machery et al. ran a cross-cultural survey asking Western and East Asian participants about a famous case from the philosophical literature on reference (Kripke's G del example). They interpret their results as indicating that there is significant variation in participants' intuitions about semantic reference (...) for that case. We argue that this interpretation is mistaken. We detail a type of ambiguity found in Machery et al.'s probe but not yet noted in the response literature. We argue that this epistemic ambiguity could have affected their results. We do not stop there, however: Rather than rest content with a possibility claim, we ran four studies to test the impact of this ambiguity on participants' responses. We found that this accounts for much of the variation in Machery et al.'s original experiment. We conclude that in the light of our new data, their argument is no longer convincing. (shrink)
Do philosophers and ordinary people conceive of subjective experience in the same way? In this article, we argue that they do not and that the philosophical concept of phenomenal consciousness does not coincide with the folk conception. We first offer experimental support for the hypothesis that philosophers and ordinary people conceive of subjective experience in markedly different ways. We then explore experimentally the folk conception, proposing that for the folk, subjective experience is closely linked to valence. We conclude by considering (...) the implications of our findings for a central issue in the philosophy of mind, the hard problem of consciousness. (shrink)
The assumption that the concept of phenomenal consciousness is pretheoretical is often found in the philosophical debates on consciousness. Unfortunately, this assumption has not received the kind of empirical attention that it deserves. We suspect that this is in part due to difficulties that arise in attempting to test folk intuitions about consciousness. In this article we elucidate and defend a key methodological principle for this work. We draw this principle out by considering recent experimental work on the topic by (...) Joshua Knobe and Jesse Prinz (2008). We charge that their studies do not establish that the folk have a concept of phenomenal consciousness in part because they compare group agents to individuals . The problem is that group agents and individuals differ in some significant ways in terms of functional organization and behavior. We propose that future experiments should establish that ordinary people are disposed to ascribe different mental states to entities that are given behaviorally and functionally equivalent descriptions. (shrink)
Chandra Sripada's (2010) Deep Self Concordance Account aims to explain various asymmetries in people's judgments of intentional action. On this account, people distinguish between an agent's active and deep self; attitude attributions to the agent's deep self are then presumed to play a causal role in people's intentionality ascriptions. Two judgments are supposed to play a role in these attributions?a judgment that specifies the attitude at issue and one that indicates that the attitude is robust (Sripada & Konrath, 2011). In (...) this article, we show that the Deep Self Concordance Account, as it is currently articulated, is unacceptable. (shrink)
Many philosophers have worried about what philosophy is. Often they have looked for answers by considering what it is that philosophers do. Given the diversity of topics and methods found in philosophy, however, we propose a different approach. In this article we consider the philosophical temperament, asking an alternative question: What are philosophers like? Our answer is that one important aspect of the philosophical temperament is that philosophers are especially reflective. This claim is supported by a study of more than (...) 5,000 philosophers and non-philosophers, the results of which indicate that even when we control for overall education level, philosophers tend to be significantly more reflective than their peers. We then illustrate this tendency by considering what we know about the philosophizing of a few prominent philosophers. Recognizing this aspect of the philosophical temperament, it is natural to wonder how philosophers came to be this way: Does philosophical training teach reflectivity or do more reflective people tend to gravitate to philosophy? We consider the limitations of our data with respect to this question and suggest that a longitudinal study be conducted. (shrink)
In studying folk psychology, cognitive and developmental psychologists have mainly focused on how people conceive of non-experiential states such as beliefs and desires. As a result, we know very little about how non-philosophers (or the folk) understand the mental states that philosophers typically classify as being phenomenally conscious. In particular, it is not known whether the folk even tend to classify mental states in terms of their being or not being phenomenally conscious in the first place. Things have changed dramatically (...) in the last few years, however, with a flurry of ground-breaking research by psychologists and experimental philosophers. In this article I will review this work, carefully distinguishing between two questions: First, are the ascriptions that the folk make with regard to the mental states that philosophers classify as phenomenally conscious related to their decisions about whether morally right or wrong action has been done to an entity? Second, do the folk tend to classify mental states in the way that philosophers do, distinguishing between mental states that are phenomenally conscious and mental states that are not phenomenally conscious? (shrink)
Recent scientific work aiming to give a neurobiological explanation of phenomenal consciousness has largely focused on finding neural correlates of consciousness (NCC). The hope is that by locating neural correlates of phenomenally conscious mental states, some light will be cast on how the brain is able to give rise to such states. In this paper I argue that NCC research is unable to produce evidence of such neural correlates. I do this by considering two alternative interpretations of NCC research—an eliminativist (...) and a disjunctivist interpretation. I show that each of these interpretations is compatible with the scientific data and yet is more parsimonious than accounts involving the supposed phenomenon of phenomenal consciousness. (shrink)
Is phenomenal consciousness a problem for the brain sciences? An increasing number of researchers hold not only that it is but that its very existence is a deep mystery. That this problematic phenomenon exists is generally taken for granted: It is asserted that phenomenal consciousness is just phenomenologically obvious. In contrast, I hold that there is no such phenomenon and, thus, that it does not pose a problem for the brain sciences. For this denial to be plausible, however, I need (...) to show that phenomenal consciousness is not phenomenologically obvious. That is the goal of this article. †To contact the author, please write to: 1414 Simona Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15201; e‐mail: email@example.com. (shrink)
The standard view in epistemology is that propositional knowledge entails belief. Positive arguments are seldom given for this entailment thesis, however; instead, its truth is typically assumed. Against the entailment thesis, Myers-Schulz and Schwitzgebel (Noûs, forthcoming) report that a non-trivial percentage of people think that there can be propositional knowledge without belief. In this paper, we add further fuel to the fire, presenting the results of four new studies. Based on our results, we argue that the entailment thesis does not (...) deserve the default status that it is typically granted. We conclude by considering the alternative account of knowledge that Myers-Schulz and Schwitzgebel propose to explain their results, arguing that it does not explain ours. In its place we offer a different explanation of both sets of findings—the conviction account, according to which belief, but not knowledge, requires mental assent. (shrink)
Empirical work on the use of causal language by ordinary people indicates that their causal attributions tend to be sensitive not only to purely descriptive considerations, but also to broadly moral considerations. For example, ordinary causal attributions appear to be highly sensitive to whether a behavior is permissible or impermissible. Recently, however, a consensus view has emerged that situates the role of permissibility information within a broader framework: According to the consensus, ordinary causal attributions are sensitive to whether or not (...) a behavior is generally out of the norm, where being out of the norm might indicate deviation from a prescriptive norm (a broadly moral consideration) or deviation from a statistical norm (a purely descriptive consideration). In contrast, we conjecture that ordinary causal attributions are more directly connected to broadly moral judgments about normative responsibility (the responsibility view). We present the results of a series of new experimental studies that are consistent with the responsibility view, while indicating that the consensus position is seriously mistaken. (shrink)
It is fairly common in the modern debates over qualia to find assumptions being made about the views of non-philosophers. It is often assumed that the concept is part of the folk theory of consciousness. In fact, even prominent skeptics about qualia will admit that their views run counter to common sense. I illustrate this by considering the work of Daniel Dennett, focusing on his standard articulation of the debate concerning his heterophenomenological method. While Dennett is often accused of not (...) going far enough (excluding qualia from the catalog of what needs to be explained by a science of consciousness), I argue that he goes too far in accepting that folk psychological utterances should be interpreted in terms of beliefs about qualia. I support this contention by calling on the results of six empirical studies testing Dennett’s theory of the folk theory of consciousness. (shrink)
Most philosophers of mind follow Thomas Nagel and hold that subjective experiences are characterised by the fact that there is “something it is like” to have them. Philosophers of mind have sometimes speculated that ordinary people endorse, perhaps implicitly, this conception of subjective experiences. Some recent findings cast doubt on this view.
There are two primary traditions in philosophical theorizing about moral standing—one emphasizing Experience (the capacity to feel pain and pleasure) and one emphasizing Agency (complexity of cognition and lifestyle). In this article we offer an explanation for this divide: Lay judgments about moral standing depend importantly on two independent cues (Experience and Agency), and the two philosophical traditions reflect this aspect of folk moral cognition. In support of this two-source hypothesis, we present the results of a series of new experiments (...) providing evidence for our account of lay judgments about moral standing, and argue that these results lend plausibility to the proposed causal link between folk moral cognition and the philosophical traditions. (shrink)
It is not uncommon to find assumptions being made about folk psychology in the discussions of phenomenal consciousness in philosophy of mind. In this article I consider one example, focusing on what Dan Dennett says about the “folk theory of consciousness.” I show that he holds that the folk believe that the sensory qualities that we are acquainted with in ordinary perception are phenomenal qualities. Nonetheless, the shape of the folk theory is an empirical matter and in the absence of (...) empirical investigation there is ample room for doubt. Fortunately, experimental evidence on the topic is now being produced by experimental philosophers and psychologists. This article contributes to this growing literature, presenting the results of six new studies on the folk view of colors and pains. I argue that the results indicate against Dennett’s theory of the folk theory of consciousness. (shrink)
Gene-Culture Coevolution (GCC) theory is an intriguing new entry in the quest to understand human culture. Nonetheless, it has received relatively little philosophical attention. One notable exception is Kim Sterelny’s (2006) critique which raises three primary objections against the GCC account. Most importantly, he argues that GCC theory, as it stands, is unable to resolve “the paradox of cultural accumulation” (151); that while social learning should generally be prohibitively expensive for the pupils, it nonetheless occurs as the principle means of (...) disseminating novel information through a culture. Sterelny holds that this is best explained by supplementing the GCC models with strong cultural group selection pressures. I argue that this is not needed. To show this I elaborate upon Joseph Henrich and Francisco Gil-White’s (2001) information goods theory, developing it in terms of the market pressures that one would expect to find in an information economy. I indicate how such pressures contribute to an individual-level explanation of cultural accumulation that answers Sterelny’s concerns. (shrink)
In this article I critique Kathleen Slaney and Michael Maraun’s (2005) addition to the ongoing philosophical charge that neuroscientific writing often transgresses the bounds of sense. While they sometimes suggest a minimal, cautious thesis–that certain usage can generate confusion and in some cases has–they also bandy about charges of meaninglessness, conceptual confusion, and nonsense freely. These charges rest on the premise that terms have specific correct usages that correspond with Slaney and Maraun’s sense of everyday linguistic practice. I challenge this (...) premise. I argue that they have not shown that there are such specific correct usages; and, further, that even if they had, they fail to justify that their definitions are the correct ones. (shrink)
In this essay, we discuss how Descartes arrives at his mature view of material causation. Descartes position changes over time in some very radical ways. The last section spells out his final position as to how causation works in the world of material objects. When considering Descartes causal theories, it is useful to distinguish between vertical and horizontal causation. The vertical perspective addresses Gods relation to creation. God is essential being, and every being other than God depends upon God in (...) order to exist and to continue in existence .Thus, from the vertical perspective, the act of creating and fact of coming into existence are co-extensive notions. This metaphysical/theological framework is the basis of Descartes commitment to three interrelated notions: that genuine causes and effects occur simultaneously; that causing is appropriately the case only when the cause is acting; and the view that God is the efficient, total, and continuous cause of everything that exists and every action that occurs. So from the vertical perspective, things are nothing without Gods continuous creation, and there is a problem in articulating how they are said to have independent being and causal efficacy. It is in terms of these commitments that Descartes views on horizontal, or material, causation must be approached. We will make apparent the radical extent to which his account of intra-worldly causation abandons his earlier and more traditional views about material causation. To this end we discuss Descartes journey to his mature position by emphasizing the growing epistemic limitations of his philosophy, which culminate in what we call his epistemic stance. (shrink)
What are the differences between philosophy and science, or between the methods of philosophy and the methods of science? Unlike some philosophers we do not find philosophy and the methods of philosophy to be sui generis. Science, and in particular neuroscience, has much to tell us about the nature of the world and the concepts that we must use to understand and explain it. Yet science cannot function well without reflective analysis of the concepts, methods, and practices that constitute it. (...) For example, experimental methods and their resulting empirical data are essential for understanding the world, yet such data is not a-conceptual. Understanding how and what theoretical assumptions, conceptual assumptions, and practical knowledge guide the use of experimental methods is relevant to understanding the results of that use. In this way, philosophy – whether done by philosophers or scientists – has a role to play in understanding the world. Neuroscience is typically individualistic in focus; nonetheless, the mechanisms of learning and linguistic ability that some neuroscientists study also have a role to play in understanding communication. Philosophy cannot offer adequate understanding, even conceptual clarity, in isolation from empirical investigation. Yet, this does not require that science or scientific concepts will replace or reduce philosophical concepts, let alone those of ordinary language. (shrink)
Phenomenal consciousness poses a puzzle for philosophy of science. This arises from two facts: It is common for philosophers (and some scientists) to take its existence to be phenomenologically obvious and yet modern science arguably has little (if anything) to say about it. And, this despite 20 years of work targeting the phenomenon in what I will refer to as the new science of consciousness. How has such a supposedly evident part of our world remained beyond our scientific understanding? One (...) possibility is that there is no such phenomenon. This possibility, however, is undercut by the claim that phenomenal consciousness is phenomenologically obvious. In this paper I argue that this claim is mistaken. Distinguishing between the qualities we are phenomenologically aware of and the classification of those qualities as being mental (as qualia), I present both empirical evidence and theoretical reasons to deny that the latter is phenomenologically obvious. (shrink)
In this paper, I make a case for interpreting the Lysis as a dialogue of definition, designed to answer the question of “What is a friend?” The main innovation of my interpretation is the contention – and this is argued for in the paper – that Socrates hints towards a definition of being a friend that applies equally to mutual friendship and one-way attraction – the two kinds of friend relation very clearly identified by Socrates in the dialogue. The key (...) to understanding how the two different kinds of friendship can have a common definition is to appreciate that the property of being a friend has a relational character. (shrink)
I examine the argument that Ethical Internalism (the theory that moral judgment entails or guarantees motivation to act morally) must be false because of the fact of moral indifference. I argue that no facts of moral indifference can be adduced as evidence against the internalism. I begin by distinguishing two main versions of internalism. Then I identify and characterize four common forms of moral indifference and explain why each form fails to offer evidence against internalism. Only what I call Authentic (...) Moral Indifference could provide a refutation of internalism; however, this type of moral indifference cannot be shown to exist. (shrink)
In recent years, the need for infant organs for transplantation has increased. There is a growing recognition of the potential use of anencephalics as sources of organs. Prevalent arguments defending the use of live anencephalics for organ sources are identified and criticized. I argue that attempts to deny the applicability of the dead-donor rule are either question-begging or based on false premises and that attempts to skirt the Kantian dictum against treating others as a means only are not successful. I (...) contend that the apparent utilitarian justification for live anencephalics as organ sources is unsatisfactory for two reasons: first, because it ignores the undermining effect the policy would have on parental values and sentiments central to social welfare; and second, because attempts to respond adequately to the slippery slope argument against live anencephalic use are unconvincing. (shrink)
Patients' wishes regarding health care and dying must be taken into consideration by their physicians. Competent patients need to record directives about their care in advance of a crisis situation. The primary care physician, seeing the patient at the time of a routine office visit, is in a favorable position to explore and record attitudes. A patient's value system should be part of a medical history before hospital admission. Details in a Value History Questionnaire facilitate guiding an incompetent patient through (...) a terminal illness in accordance with wishes previously expressed.An instrument in the form of a questionnaire was designed to record the attitudes of 200 patients regarding health care and dying. Respondents ranged in age from 17 to 84 years, and all were members of one family practice. They reacted positively to the opportunity to record their values, opinions, and wishes about their health care and process of dying. They clearly indicated that, in the absence of prior directives, they would want their families consulted about crucial decisions. (shrink)
Contemporary cost containment measures ignore patients' need for privacy, destroy long-term doctor-patient relationships, and demand ethical and standard of care compromises.Economic considerations have distracted the physician and he/she no longer focuses primarily on the patient's welfare. The superficiality of the doctor-patient relationship and the cost-cutting efforts have jointly contributed to the deterioration of the quality of medical care.
Recently, a number of philosophers have turned to folk intuitions about mental states for data about qualia and phenomenal consciousness. In this paper I argue that current research along these lines does not tell us about these subjects. I focus on a series of studies, performed by JustinSytsma and Edouard Machery, to make my argument. Folk judgments studied by these researchers are mostly likely generated by a certain cognitive system – System One – that will generate the (...) same data whether or not we experience phenomenal consciousness. This is a problem for a range of current experimental philosophy research into consciousness or our concept of it. If experimental philosophy is to shed light into phenomenal consciousness, it needs to be better founded in an understanding of how we make judgments. (shrink)
Justin makes a novel case, based on reflection on the “telos” of color vision, for a dispositional theory of colors. Justin’s case is highly suggestive, and comes tantalizingly close to resolving the debate in the metaphysics of color. But I have a few questions which I would like to see answered before I am converted.
Justin D'Arms says that moral disapproval is more closely tied to anger than to the “empathic chill” effect I emphasized in Moral Sentimentalism, but I argue that anger is in several ways inappropriate or unsatisfactory as a basis for understanding disapproval. I go on to explain briefly why I think we need not share D'Arms's worries about the possibility of nonveridical empathy but then focus on what he says about the reference-fixing theory of moral terminology defended in Moral Sentimentalism. (...) I explain why I think his interpretations of my view—both at the Spindel Conference and subsequently—misunderstand the (Kripkean) character of that view. My reply to Lori Watson questions whether her criticisms of Moral Sentimentalism's account of morality are sufficiently sensitive to the self−other asymmetry that typifies so much of ordinary moral thinking. (shrink)
D. Christopher Ralston; Justin Ho (Eds.): Philosophical Reflections on Disability Content Type Journal Article Pages 247-249 DOI 10.1007/s10677-010-9237-8 Authors Franziska Felder, Ethikzentrum der Universität Zürich, Graduiertenprogramm für Interdisziplinäre Ethikforschung, Zollikerstrasse 115, 8008 Zürich, Switzerland Journal Ethical Theory and Moral Practice Online ISSN 1572-8447 Print ISSN 1386-2820 Journal Volume Volume 14 Journal Issue Volume 14, Number 2.
Abstract This review discussion outlines Justin Barrett’s Preparedness Model. This evolutionary model for belief in God is shown to posit a maladaptive mind for infants. Questions about its implications and the supporting data are considered. Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-3 DOI 10.1007/s11841-012-0300-x Authors Dwayne Raymond, Department of Philosophy, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA Journal Sophia Online ISSN 1873-930X Print ISSN 0038-1527.
Dans son Apologie, Justin structure son discours selon un double plan: il se prononce en faveur des chrétiens injustement haïs, mais aussi, de manière plus personnelle, comme quelqu�un qui pressent l�approche de sa condamnation et s�y prépare en assumant le rôle du sage qui, sur le point de mourir, fustige l�autorité politique, sans en craindre les conséquences. En recourant à un topos littéraire très connu dans l�Antiquité, Justin se «construit» une image de mort honorable au sein de sa (...) communauté. (shrink)
Dans son Dialogue avec Tryphon, Justin mentionne de nombreuses exégèses, croyances et pratiques juives explicitement présentées comme contemporaines. L�hypothèse généralement admise selon laquelle il aurait tiré ces informations d�un ou plusieurs écrit(s) antérieur(s) ne résiste pas à l�examen : la comparaison avec différentes sources anciennes � littérature judéo-hellénistique, écrits intertestamentaires et écrits de Qumrân, Nouveau Testament et littérature chrétienne des premiers siècles � fait ressortir la spécificité de Justin en ce domaine. Les rapprochements avec la littérature rabbinique montrent (...) en revanche que ce que Justin rapporte est presque toujours attribué, dans le Talmud et le Midrash, à des rabbins palestiniens des IIe et IIIe siècles. Il y a donc tout lieu de croire que l�information de l�apologiste est de première main. (shrink)
Cet ouvrage vient couronner un ensemble d’études que Ch. Munier a consacrées à l’œuvre apologétique de Justin depuis plus d’une vingtaine d’années et dont on rappellera les principaux jalons : une série d’articles dans la présente Revue (60 , p. 34-54 ; 61 , p. 177-186 ; 62 , p. 90-100 & 227-239), une monographie parue en 1994 à Fribourg (Suisse) dans la collection « Paradosis », et une première édition critique avec traduction, dans la même collection, en 1995. (...) L’édition qu.. (shrink)