It is a live possibility that certain of our experiences reliably misrepresent the world around us. I argue that tracking theories of mental representation (e.g. those of Dretske, Fodor, and Millikan) have difficulty allowing for this possibility, and that this is a major consideration against them.
According to the semantic view of scientific theories, theories are classes of models. I show that this view -- if taken seriously as a formal explication -- leads to absurdities. In particular, this view equates theories that are truly distinct, and it distinguishes theories that are truly equivalent. Furthermore, the semantic view lacks the resources to explicate interesting theoretical relations, such as embeddability of one theory into another. The untenability of the semantic view -- as currently formulated -- threatens to (...) undermine scientific structuralism. (shrink)
Some mental states are about themselves. Nothing is a cause of itself. So some mental states are not about their causes; they are about things distinct from their causes. If this argument is sound, it spells trouble for causal theories of mental content—the precise sort of trouble depending on the precise sort of causal theory. This paper shows that the argument is sound (§§1-3), and then spells out the trouble (§4).
This paper has two aims: (1) to point the way towards a novel alternative to cognitive theories of emotion, and (2) to delineate a number of different functions that the emotions play in cognition, functions that become visible from outside the framework of cognitive theories. First, I hold that the Higher Order Representational (HOR) theories of consciousness ? as generally formulated ? are inadequate insofar as they fail to account for selective attention. After posing this dilemma, I resolve it in (...) such a manner that the following thesis arises: the emotions play a key role in shaping selective attention. This thesis is in accord with A. Damasio?s (1994) noteworthy neuroscientific work on emotion. I then begin to formulate an alternative to cognitive theories of emotion, and I show how this new account has implications for the following issues: face recognition, two brain disorders (Capgras? and Fregoli syndrome), the frame problem in A. I., and the research program of affective computing. (shrink)
Multiply realizable properties are those whose realizers are physically diverse. It is often argued that theories which contain them are ipso facto irreducible. These arguments assume that physical explanations are restricted to the most specific descriptions possible of physical entities. This assumption is descriptively false, and philosophically unmotivated. I argue that it is a holdover from the late positivist axiomatic view of theories. A semantic view of theories, by contrast, correctly allows scientific explanations to be couched in the most perspicuous, (...) powerful language available. On a semantic view, traditional notions of multiple realizability are thus very hard to motivate. At best, one must abandon either the idea that multiple realizability is an interesting scientific notion, or else admit that multiply realizable properties do not automatically block scientific reductions. (shrink)
In recent years, experimental philosophers have questioned the reliance of philosophical arguments on intuitions elicited by thought experiments. These challenges seek to undermine the use of this methodology for a particular domain of theorizing, and in some cases to raise doubts about the viability of philosophical work in the domain in question. The topic of semantic reference has been an important area for discussion of these issues, one in which critics of the reliance on intuitions have made particularly strong claims (...) about the prospects for philosophical theories of reference and arguments based on claims about reference. In this article, I review the main lines of argument in this area of experimental philosophy, with particular emphasis on the relevance of empirical data about intuitions to philosophical views. I argue that although traditional philosophical theorizing about reference faces little threat from experimental data about intuitions, there is nevertheless much to be gained from collecting and analyzing such data, which holds the promise of greatly enriching our conception of the mechanisms governing judgments about semantic reference in ways that are highly relevant to philosophers. (shrink)
This paper argues that, in light of Dead Sea apple cases, we should reject desire-fulfillment welfare theories (DF theories). Dead Sea apples are apples that look attractive while hanging on the tree, but which dissolve into smoke or ashes once plucked. Accordingly, Dead Sea apple cases are cases where an agent desires something and then gets it, only to find herself disappointed by what she has gotten. This paper covers both actual DF theories and hypothetical (or idealized) DF theories. On (...) actual DF theories the agent’s well-being is determined by her actual desires, while on hypothetical DF theories the agent’s well-being is determined by the desires that she would have if she were fully and vividly informed with respect to non-evaluative information. Various actual and hypothetical DF theory responses to Dead Sea apple objections are considered, and all such responses are argued to be inadequate. (shrink)
Many philosophers have claimed that we might do well to adopt a hybrid theory of well-being: a theory that incorporates both an objective-value constraint and a pro-attitude constraint. Hybrid theories are attractive for two main reasons. First, unlike desire theories of well-being, hybrid theories need not worry about the problem of defective desires. This is so because, unlike desire theories, hybrid theories place an objective-value constraint on well-being. Second, unlike objectivist theories of well-being, hybrid theories need not worry about being (...) overly alienating. This is so because, unlike objectivist theories, hybrid theories place a pro-attitude constraint on well-being. However, from the point of view of objectivists, hybrid theories are not objectivist enough, and this can be seen clearly in missing-desires cases. For instance, hybrid theories entail that, if someone lacks the desire for health, then health is not a component of her well-being. This, objectivists say, is implausible. It is obvious, objectivists say, that someone’s life goes better for herself inasmuch as she is healthy, and hence that health is a component of her welfare. This paper focuses on the missing-desires objection (as leveled by objectivists) to hybrid theories of well-being. My argument is that the missing-desires objection can be answered in a way that is generally convincing and, in particular, in a way that pays a good deal of respect to objectivist intuitions about well-being. My hope, then, is that this paper will help to persuade objectivists about well-being to become hybrid theorists. (shrink)
The progression of theories suggested for our world, from ego- to geo- to helio-centric models to universe and multiverse theories and beyond, shows one tendency: The size of the described worlds increases, with humans being expelled from their center to ever more remote and random locations. If pushed too far, a potential theory of everything (TOE) is actually more a theories of nothing (TON). Indeed such theories have already been developed. I show that including observer localization into such theories is (...) necessary and sufficient to avoid this problem. I develop a quantitative recipe to identify TOEs and distinguish them from TONs and theories in-between. This precisely shows what the problem is with some recently suggested universal TOEs. (shrink)
The overall strategy of Lycan’s paper is to distinguish three kinds of conditional assertion theories, and then to show, in order, how they are variously afflicted by a set of problems. The three kinds of theory were the Quine-Rhinelander theory (or the Simple Illocutionary theory), The Semanticized Quine-Rhinelander, and the No Truth Value theory (or NTV). This strategy offers considerable clarity, but it comes at a cost, for what I take to be the best version of a conditional assertion theory (...) contains core parts of all three theories. In what follows, I will suggest that many of the objections offered by Lycan can be dealt when all the pieces are taken into consideration at the same time. But I will also suggest that a refined version of what Lycan called the Immediate Implausibility objection does show us that the conditional assertion theory is false. (shrink)
Recent philosophical treatment of conspiracy theories supposes them all to be explanatory, thus overlooking those conspiracy theories whose major purpose is the assertion of ‘hidden facts’ rather than explanation of accepted facts. I call this variety of non-explanatory conspiracy theories “counterfact theories”. In this paper, through the use of examples, including the Obama birth certificate conspiracy theory, I uncover the distinctive reasoning pattern and dialectical strategy of counterfact theories, highlighting their epistemic flaws.
According to higher-order theories of consciousness, a mental state is conscious only when represented by another mental state. Higher-order theories must predict there to be some brain areas (or networks of areas) such that, because they produce (the right kind of) higher-order states, the disabling of them brings about deficits in consciousness. It is commonly thought that the prefrontal cortex produces these kinds of higher-order states. In this paper, I first argue that this is likely correct, meaning that, if some (...) higher-order theory is true, prefrontal lesions should produce dramatic deficits in visual consciousness. I then survey prefrontal lesion data, looking for evidence of such deficits. I argue that no such deficits are to be found, and that this presents a compelling case against higher-order theories. (shrink)
Many philosophers with hedonistic sympathies (e.g., Mill, Sidgwick, Sumner, Feldman, Crisp, Heathwood, and Bradley) have claimed that well-being is necessarily experiential. Kagan once claimed something slightly different, saying that, although unexperienced bodily events can directly impact a person’s well-being, it is nonetheless true that any change in a person’s well-being must involve a change in her (i.e., either in her mind or in her body). Kagan elaborated by saying that a person’s well-being cannot float freely of her such that it (...) is affected by events that do not affect her (Kagan 1992, 169-189). These two claims – that well-being is necessarily experiential and that changes in well-being must involve changes in the person – are two different ways of specifying the general intuition that a person’s well-being must be strongly tied to her. This general intuition imposes an adequacy constraint on welfare theorizing: To be adequate, a welfare theory cannot allow that someone can be directly benefited by events that are not strongly tied to her. Call this the strong-tie requirement. The strong-tie requirement is easily satisfied by welfare hedonism, but it poses problems for desire-fulfillment welfare theories and objective-list welfare theories. Though a great deal has been written about desire-fulfillment welfare theories in relation to the strong-tie requirement, not as much has been written about objective-list welfare theories in relation to the strong-tie requirement. This paper argues that objective-list welfare theories can satisfy the strong-tie requirement, though probably only if they take a perfectionist form, as opposed to a brute-list form. (shrink)
Two radically different families of theory currently compete for acceptance among theorists of human consciousness. The majority of theorists believe that the human brain somehow causes consciousness, but a significant minority holds that how the brain would cause this property is not only currently incomprehensible, but unlikely to become comprehensible despite continuing advances in brain science. Some of these latter theorists hold an alternate view that consciousness may well be one of the fundamentals in nature, and that the extremely complex (...) functional systems of the human brain inform this basic property, giving rise to our specifically human variety thereof. If these contesting families of theory are to be useful to neuroscientists, testable notions flowing from these theories need to be developed. (shrink)
The paper draws attention to an important, but apparently neglected distinction relating to axiomatic theories of truth, viz. the distinction between weakly and strongly truth-compositional theories of truth. The paper argues that the distinction might be helpful in classifying weak axiomatic theories of truth and examines some of them with respect to it.
This paper argues that conceptual factors are as important as empirical factors in theory acceptance. Coherence between a new theory that is assessed for acceptance and the existing (established) theories in the same domain is among such conceptual factors. For example, a new theory about spectroscopy that does not cohere with established theories of spectroscopy is unlikely to be accepted, even if it was supported by empirical considerations. It is argued that a new theory coheres with a group of established (...) theories when it shares important elements with these theories and contains no items that conflict with their central concepts and assumptions. (shrink)
In this paper, we investigate the constitutive problems and other several aspects of what a research entitled 'formal epistemology' should be. The interest in this subject has to do with the possibility of reaching a privileged point of view or axis of research - i.e., the 'formal' one - that would allow, a better grasp of the richness and variety of the facts and problems tackled by precise (local) epistemology of theories (for example, in physics). This approach is likely to (...) enable one to hold the main structural lines that organize those theories according to a more com prehensive, unifying and synthetic intelligibilit. By the same token, it would eventually allow a better handling of the changes required in the organization of knowledge, putting emphasis on its main directions, drawing up a rational inventory of this knowledge, and perhaps anticipating others. At first, we deal with the `thought of changes' that no approach of the 'form' can afford to leave aside, since the meaning of this concept is inseparable from the contents that come with constructions and modifications. We examine then the notion of 'epistemic operation' as an instrument to create new forms on the theoretical as well as on the meta-theoretical levels. ln the wake of it, we analyze the characteristics of the form and of the formal, as well as their relationship with the contents of knowledge. We also take the notion of object into account, since it depends upon the decision of a subject and upon conventional choices. We finally inquire about the link between `epistemic operations' as specified above and algorithmic functions for knowledge statements, and emphasize the risk of reductionism that might follow from a naturalistic conception of representation. (shrink)
Several decades ago, Christopher Boorse formulated an influential statistical theory of normative biological functions but it has often been claimed that his theory suffers from insuperable problems such as an inability to handle cases of epidemic and universal diseases. This paper develops a new statistical theory of normative functions that is capable of dealing with the notorious problem of epidemic and universal diseases. The theory is also more detailed than its predecessors and offers other important advantages over them. It is (...) argued here that statistical theories of biological functions should not be so quickly dismissed. (shrink)
Many philosophers sharply distinguish emotions from feelings. Emotions are not feelings, and having an emotion does not necessitate having some feeling, they think. In this paper I reply to a set of arguments people use sharply to distinguish emotions from feelings. In response to these people, I endorse and defend a hedonic theory of emotion that avoids various anti-feeling objections. Proponents of this hedonic theory analyze an emotion by reference to forms of cognition (e.g., thought, belief, judgment) and a pleasant (...) or an unpleasant feeling. Given this theory,emotions are feelings in some important sense of "feelings", and these feelings are identified as particular emotions by reference to their hedonic character and the cognitive state that causes the hedonic feelings. (shrink)
The purpose of this doctoral project is to explore the epistemic issues surrounding the concept of the conspiracy theory and to advance the analysis and evaluation of the conspiracy theory as a mode of explanation. The candidate is interested in the circumstances under which inferring to the truth or likeliness of a given conspiracy theory is, or is not, warranted.
The fact that a group of axioms use the word 'true' does not guarantee that that group of axioms yields a theory of truth. For Davidson the derivability of certain biconditionals from the axioms is what guarantees this. We argue that the test does not work. In particular, we argue that if the object language has truth-value gaps, the result of applying Davidson''s definition of a theory of truth is that no correct theory of truth for the language is possible.
Marian Przełęcki’s semantics for the Received View is a good explication of Carnap’s position on the subject, anticipates many discussions and results from both proponents and opponents of the Received View, and can be the basis for a thriving research program.
This article compares the three frameworks for theories of consciousness that are taken most seriously by neuroscientists, the view that consciousness is a biological state of the brain, the global workspace perspective and an account in terms of higher order states. The comparison features the “explanatory gap” (Nagel, 1974; Levine, 1983) the fact that we have no idea why the neural basis of an experience is the neural basis of that experience rather than another experience or no experience at all. (...) It is argued that the biological framework handles the explanatory gap better than the global workspace of higher order views. The article does not discuss quantum theories or “panpsychist” accounts according to which consciousness is a feature of the smallest particles of inorganic matter (Chalmers, 1996; Rosenberg, 2004). Nor does it discuss the “representationist” proposals (Tye, 2000; Byrne, 2001a) that are popular among philosophers but not neuroscientists. (shrink)
Phenomenal consciousness is the property mental states, events, and processes have when, and only when, there is something it is like for their subject to undergo them, or be in them. What it is like to have a conscious experience is customarily referred to as the experience’s phenomenal character. Theories of consciousness attempt to account for this phenomenal character. This article surveys the currently prominent theories, paying special attention to the various attempts to explain a state’s phenomenal character in terms (...) of its representational content. (shrink)
The Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) field presents not only a landscape of theories but also a proliferation of approaches, which are controversial, complex and unclear. This article tries to clarify the situation, mapping the territory by classifying the main CSR theories and related approaches in four groups: (1) instrumental theories, in which the corporation is seen as only an instrument for wealth creation, and its social activities are only a means to achieve economic results; (2) political theories, which concern themselves (...) with the power of corporations in society and a responsible use of this power in the political arena; (3) integrative theories, in which the corporation is focused on the satisfaction of social demands; and (4) ethical theories, based on ethical responsibilities of corporations to society. In practice, each CSR theory presents four dimensions related to profits, political performance, social demands and ethical values. The findings suggest the necessity to develop a new theory on the business and society relationship, which should integrate these four dimensions. (shrink)
All theories of the right to secede either understand the right as a remedial right only or also recognize a primary right to secede. By a right in this context is meant a general, not a special, right (one generated through promising, contract, or some special relationship). Remedial Right Only Theories assert that a group has a general right to secede if and only if it has suffered certain injustices, for which secession is the appropriate remedy of last resort.1 Different (...) Remedial Right Only Theories identify different injustices as warranting the remedy of secession. (shrink)
This essay argues that the material conditions of capitalist patriarchal societies are more integrally linked to institutionalized heterosexuality than they are to gender. Building on the critical strategies of early feminist sociology through the articulation of a materialist feminist theoretical framework, the author provides a critique of contemporary sex-gender theory. She argues that the heterosexual imaginary in feminist sociological theories of gender conceals the operation of heterosexuality in structuring gender and closes off any critical analysis of heterosexuality as an organizing (...) institution.... every sociological concept and thesis, as well as the overall patterning of these concepts and theses, is potentially open for reconsideration... With the emergence of feminist sociological theory, the critical emphases in sociology are strengthened by an insistence that sociological work be critical and change-oriented... in an intensely reflexive way towards sociology itself (Lengermann and Niebrugge-Brantley 1990:318). We must produce a political transformation of the key concepts, that is of the concepts which are strategic for us (Wittig 1992:30). (shrink)
My target in this paper is "theories of consciousness". There are many theories of consciousness around, and my view is that they are all misconceived. Consciousness is not a normal scientific subject, and needs handling with special care. It is foolhardy to jump straight in and start building a theory, as if consciousness were just like electricity or chemical valency. We will do much better to reflect explicitly on our methodology first. When we do this, we will see that theories (...) of consciousness are trying to answer a question that isn't there. (shrink)
The present paper suggests relative truth definability as a tool for comparing conceptual aspects of axiomatic theories of truth and gives an overview of recent developments of axiomatic theories of truth in the light of it. We also show several new proof-theoretic results via relative truth definability including a complete answer to the conjecture raised by Feferman in .
Quantum mechanical theories of consciousness are contrasted to classical ones. A key difference is that the quantum laws are fundamentally psychophysical and provide an explanation of the causal effect of conscious effort on neural processes, while the laws of classical physics, being purely physical, cannot. The quantum approach provides causal explanations, deduced from the laws of physics, of correlations found in psychology and in neuropsychology.
One of the most important disputes in the foundations of ethics concerns the source of practical reasons. On the desire-based view, only one’s desires provide one with reasons to act. On the value-based view, reasons are instead provided by the objective evaluative facts, and never by our desires. Similarly, there are desire-based and non-desired-based theories about two other issues: pleasure and welfare. It has been argued, and is natural to think, that holding a desire-based theory about either pleasure or welfare (...) commits one to recognizing that desires do provide reasons for action – i.e., commits one to abandoning the value-based theory of reasons. The purpose of this paper is to show that this is not so. All of the following can be true: pleasure and welfare provide reasons; pleasure and welfare are to be understood in terms of desire; desires never provide reasons, in the relevant way. (shrink)
It is common for contemporary metaphysical realists to adopt Quine's criterion of ontological commitment while at the same time repudiating his ontological pragmatism. 2 Drawing heavily from the work of others—especially Joseph Melia and Stephen Yablo—I will argue that the resulting approach to meta-ontology is unstable. In particular, if we are metaphysical realists, we need not accept ontological commitment to whatever is quantified over by our best first-order theories.
The paper contains an argument against functionalist theories of consciousness. The argument exploits an intuition to the effect that parts of an individual's brain (or of whatever else might realize the individual's mental states, processes, etc.) that are not in use at a time t, can have no bearing on whether that individual is conscious at t. After presenting the argument, I defend it against two possible objections, and then distinguish it from two arguments to which it appears, on the (...) surface to be similar. (shrink)
This paper identifies and criticizes certain fundamental commitments of virtue theories in epistemology. A basic question for virtues approaches is whether they represent a ‘third force’––a different source of normativity to internalism and externalism. Virtues approaches so-conceived are opposed. It is argued that virtues theories offer us nothing that can unify the internalist and externalist sub-components of their preferred success-state. Claims that character can unify a virtues-based axiology are overturned. Problems with the pluralism of virtues theories are identified––problems with pluralism (...) and the nature of the self; and problems with pluralism and the goals of epistemology. Moral objections to virtue theory are identified––specifically, both the idea that there can be a radical axiological priority to character and the anti-enlightenment tendencies in virtues approaches. Finally, some strengths to virtue theory are conceded, while the role of epistemic luck is identified as an important topic for future work. (shrink)
In “The Toolbox of Science” (1995) together with Towfic Shomar we advocated a form of instrumentalism about scientific theories. We separately developed this view further in a number of subsequent works. Steven French, James Ladyman, Otavio Bueno and Newton Da Costa (FLBD) have since written at least eight papers and a book criticising our work. Here we defend ourselves. First we explain what we mean in denying that models derive from theory – and why their failure to do so should (...) be lamented. Second we defend our use of the London model of superconductivity as an example. Third we point out both advantages and weaknesses of FLBD’s techniques in comparison to traditional Anglophone versions of the semantic conception. Fourth we show that FLBD’s version of the semantic conception has not been applied to our case study. We conclude by raising doubts about FLBD’s overall project. (shrink)
Abstract Following Clarke (2002), a Lakatosian approach is used to account for the epistemic development of conspiracy theories. It is then argued that the hypercritical atmosphere of the internet has slowed down the development of conspiracy theories, discouraging conspiracy theorists from articulating explicit versions of their favoured theories, which could form the hard core of Lakatosian research pro grammes. The argument is illustrated with a study of the “controlled demolition” theory of the collapse of three towers at the World Trade (...) Center on September 11, 2001. (shrink)
For purposes of this paper, a conscious state is a mental state whose subject is directly or at least nonevidentially aware of being in it. (The state does not count as conscious if the subject has only been told about it by a cognitive scientist or psychologist; introspectively would be better, but no one should say that a state is conscious only if its subject actively introspects it.). N.b., this usage is only one among several quite different though of course (...) not competing ones; the phrase has been used in at least two other senses, as by, respectively, Dretske (1993, 1995) and Block (1995).1 My definition is stipulative, but not brutely so; it settles on one thing that is often meant by conscious state cf. a conscious memory, a conscious desire, a conscious intention, a conscious decision. According to higher-order (HO) theories of consciousness in this sense of consciousness, what makes a mental state a conscious one is that it is represented by another of the subject’s mental states, that in virtue of which s/he is aware of it. Some practitioners follow Locke in taking the higher-order state to be quasi-perceptual (Armstrong, 1968, 1980, Lycan 1991, 1996); others say it may be merely a thought about the original state (Rosenthal, 1986, 1990).2 There is an alleged objection to such theories, that originated with Goldman (1993)Error: Illegal entry in bfrange block in ToUnicode CMapError: Illegal entry in bfrange block in ToUnicode CMapError: Illegal entry in bfrange block in ToUnicode CMap3 and has since been voiced and discussed by others (Dretske 1995, Stubenberg 1998, Van Gulick 2000, 2005, Gennaro 2005, Kriegel 2009). I say alleged, because. (shrink)
The conflict between agency and stakeholder theories of the firm has long been entrenched in organizational and management literature. At the core of this debate are two competing views of the firm in which assumptions and process contrast each other so sharply that agency and stakeholder views of the firm are often described as polar opposites. The purpose of this paper is to show how agency theory can be subsumed within a general stakeholder model of the firm. By analytically deconstructing (...) the assumptions of agency theory, it is argued that agency theory: (1) must include a recognition of stakeholders; (2) requires a moral minimum to be upheld, which places four moral principles above the interests of any stakeholders, including shareholders; (3) consists of contradictory assumptions about human nature and which give rise to the equally valid assumptions of trust, honesty and loyalty to be infused into the agency relationship. In this way, stakeholder theory is argued to be the logical conclusion of agency theory. Empirical hypotheses are presented as a means to substantiate this claim. (shrink)
Thirty years after the conference that gave rise to The Structure of Scientific Theories, there is renewed interest in the nature of theories and models. However, certain crucial issues from thirty years ago are reprised in current discussions; specifically: whether the diversity of models in the science can be captured by some unitary account; and whether the temporal dimension of scientific practice can be represented by such an account. After reviewing recent developments we suggest that these issues can be accommodated (...) within the partial structures formulation of the semantic or model-theoretic approach. (shrink)
The distinction between cognitive and perceptual theories of emotion is entrenched in the literature on emotion and is openly used by individual emotion theorists when classifying their own theories and those of others. In this paper, I argue that the distinction between cognitive and perceptual theories of emotion is more pernicious than it is helpful, while at the same time insisting that there are nonetheless important perceptual and cognitive factors in emotion that need to be distinguished. A general representational metatheoretical (...) framework for reconciling cognitive and perceptual theories is proposed. This is the Representational Theory of Emotion (RTE). A detailed case study of Antonio Damasio's important new contribution to emotion theory is presented in defense of the RTE. The paper is intended for readers interested in the foundations of emotion theory and cognitive science. (shrink)
Causal theories of mental content attempt to explain how thoughts can be about things. They attempt to explain how one can think about, for example, dogs. These theories begin with the idea that there are mental representations and that thoughts are meaningful in virtue of a causal connection between a mental representation and some part of the world that is represented. In other words, the point of departure for these theories is that thoughts of dogs are about dogs because dogs (...) cause the mental representations of dogs. (shrink)
: The belief persists in philosophy, religion, science, and popular culture that some special cognitive property of persons like self-consciousness confers a unique moral standing. However, no set of cognitive properties confers moral standing, and metaphysical personhood is not sufficient for either moral personhood or moral standing. Cognitive theories all fail to capture the depth of commitments embedded in using the language of "person." It is more assumed than demonstrated in these theories that nonhuman animals lack a relevant form of (...) self-consciousness or its functional equivalent. Although nonhuman animals are not plausible candidates for moral personhood, humans too fail to qualify as moral persons if they lack one or more of the conditions of moral personhood. If moral personhood were the sole basis of moral rights, then these humans would lack rights--and precisely for the reasons that nonhuman animals would. (shrink)
It is difficult to wander far in contemporary metaphysics without bumping into talk of possible worlds. And, reference to possible worlds is not confined to metaphysics. It can be found in contemporary epistemology and ethics, and has even made its way into linguistics and decision theory. What are those possible worlds, the entities to which theorists in these disciplines all appeal? Some have hoped that a theory of possible worlds can be used to reduce modality to non-modal terms. This paper (...) sets reductive theories aside, and articulates and applies a framework for evaluating non-reductive theories of possible worlds. I argue that, if we abjure reduction, we should aim for a theory of possible worlds that is user-friendly. I then outline four leading contemporary theories and consider objections to each. My conclusions are negative: every theory we discuss fails to be user-friendly in some significant respect. (shrink)
For a long time, regularity accounts of causation have virtually vanished from the scene. Problems encountered within other theoretical frameworks have recently induced authors working on causation, laws of nature, or methodologies of causal reasoning – as e.g. May (Kausales Schliessen. Eine Untersuchung über kausale Erklärungen und Theorienbildung. Ph.D. thesis, Universität Hamburg, Hamburg, 1999), Ragin (Fuzzy-set social science. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), Graßhoff and May (Causal regularities. In W. Spohn, M. Ledwig, & M. Esfeld (Eds.), Current issues in (...) causation (pp. 85–114). Paderborn: Mentis, 2001), Swartz (The concept of physical law (2nd ed.). http://www.sfu.ca/philosophy/physical-law/, 2003), Halpin (Erkenntnis, 58, 137–168, 2003) – to direct their attention back to regularity theoretic analyses. In light of the latest proposals of regularity theories, the paper at hand therefore reassesses the criticism raised against regularity accounts since the INUS theory of causation of Mackie (The cement of the universe. A study of causation. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1974). It is shown that most of these objections target strikingly over-simplified regularity theoretic sketches. By outlining ways to refute these objections it is argued that the prevalent conviction as to the overall failure of regularity theories has been hasty. (shrink)
It is argued that Nozick's experience machine thought experiment does not pose a particular difficulty for mental state theories of well-being. While the example shows that we value many things beyond our mental states, this simply reflects the fact that we value more than our own well-being. Nor is a mental state theorist forced to make the dubious claim that we maintain these other values simply as a means to desirable mental states. Valuing more than our mental states is compatible (...) with maintaining that the impact of such values upon our well-being lies in their impact upon our mental lives. (shrink)
The eternalist endurantist and perdurantist theories of persistence through time come in various versions, namely the two versions of perdurantism: the worm view and the stage view , and the two versions of endurantism: indexicalism and adverbialism . Using as a starting point the instructive case of what is depicted by photographs, I will examine these four views, and compare them, with some interesting results. Notably, we will see that two traditional enemies—the perdurantist worm view and the endurantist theories—are (...) more like allies : they are much less different than what is usually thought, and some alleged points of central disagreement fall prey to closer scrutiny. The aim of this paper is to examine carefully all those points, and to call attention to the places where the real differences between these views lie. I will then turn to the perdurantist stage view, and claim that with respect to some central issues it is the view that is the most different from the other three, but that in some places the reason why it different is also the reason why it is less satisfactory. (shrink)
This thesis is an examination and critique of naturalistic representational theories of phenomenal character. Phenomenal character refers to the distinctive quality that perceptual and sensational experiences seem to have; it is identified with 'what it is like' to undergo experiences. The central claims of representationalism are that phenomenal character is identical with the content of experience and that all representational states, bearing appropriate relations to the cognitive system, are conscious experiences. These claims are taken to explain both how conscious experiential (...) states arise and their nature. After examining the desiderata for naturalistic explanations, I argue that theories which ascribe nonconceptual content to experiences are the most plausible versions of representationalism. Further, causal covariation and teleological theories yield distinctive and interesting representationalist positions, hence, they become the focus of this study. To assess representationalism, I investigate whether all differences in phenomenal character can be correlated with differences in content. I claim that a useful distinction can be drawn between implicit and explicit content, which allows one to best describe the phenomena of perfect and relative pitch. I then argue that ambiguous figures show that two experiences can have the same content but different phenomenal character. I explicate the Inverted Earth hypothesis and claim that to identify content and phenomenal character, representationalists either have to condone the possibility of philosophical zombies, or hold that people lack authoritative first-person knowledge of their current experiences. Both these positions are unpalatable. Finally, I argue that representationalists cannot ascribe contents to experiences of novel colours to account for their phenomenal character. I also question, in light of dissociation phenomena, whether there is one distinctive relationship that all experiences bear to the cognitive system. I conclude that phenomenal character cannot be identical with the type of content under investigation, and that naturalistic representationalist theories cannot fully explain conscious experience. (shrink)
Suppose we were to randomly pick out a book on Buddhism or Eastern Philosophy and turn to the section on 'no-self' (anattā). On this central teaching, we would most likely learn that the Buddha rejected the Upanisadic notion of Self (Ātman), maintaining that a person is no more than a bundle of impermanent, conditioned psycho-physical aggregates (khandhas). The rejection of Ātman is seen by many to separate the metaphysically 'extravagant' claims of Hinduism from the austere tenets of Buddhism. The status (...) quo has not, however, gone unchallenged. I shall join forces against this pernicious view, integrating some recent contributions into a sustained, two-pronged argument against no-Ātman theories of anattā. At the end it shall be suggested, in line with Thanissaro Bhikkhu, that anattā is best understood as a practical strategy rather than as a metaphysical doctrine. (shrink)
The physicist's conception of space-time underwent two major upheavals thanks to the general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics. Both theories play a fundamental role in describing the same natural world, although at different scales. However, the inconsistency between them emerged clearly as the limitation of twentieth-century physics, so a more complete description of nature must encompass general relativity and quantum mechanics as well. The problem is a theorists' problem par excellence. Experiment provide little guide, and the inconsistency mentioned above (...) is an important problem which clearly illustrates the intermingling of philosophical, mathematical, and physical thought. In fact, in order to unify general relativity with quantum field theory, it seems necessary to invent a new mathematical framework which will generalise Riemannian geometry and therefore our present conception of space and space-time. Contemporary developments in theoretical physics suggest that another revolution may be in progress, through which a new kind of geometry may enter physics, and space-time itself can be reinterpreted as an approximate, derived concept. The main purpose of this article is to show the great significance of space-time geometry in predetermining the laws which are supposed to govern the behaviour of matter, and further to support the thesis that matter itself can be built from geometry, in the sense that particles of matter as well as the other forces of nature emerges in the same way that gravity emerges from geometry. Scientific research is not a process of steady accumulation of absolute truths, which has culminated in present theories, but rather a much more dynamic kind of process in which there are no final theoretical concepts valid in unlimited domains. (David Bohm). (shrink)
The two contrasting theoretical approaches to visual perception, the constructivist and the ecological, are briefly presented and illustrated through their analyses of space and size perception. Earlier calls for their reconciliation and unification are reviewed. Neurophysiological, neuropsychological, and psychophysical evidence for the existence of two quite distinct visual systems, the ventral and the dorsal, is presented. These two perceptual systems differ in their functions; the ventral system's central function is that of identification, while the dorsal system is mainly engaged in (...) the visual control of motor behavior. The strong parallels between the ecological approach and the functioning of the dorsal system, and between the constructivist approach and the functioning of the ventral system are noted. It is also shown that the experimental paradigms used by the proponents of these two approaches match the functions of the respective visual systems. A dual-process approach to visual perception emerges from this analysis, with the ecological-dorsal process transpiring mainly without conscious awareness, while the constructivist-ventral process is normally conscious. Some implications of this dual-process approach to visual-perceptual phenomena are presented, with emphasis on space perception. Key Words: constructivist; dual-process approach; ecological; size perception; space perception; two visual systems; visual perception theories. (shrink)
This chapter attempts to give a brief overview of nonclassical (-logic) theories of truth. Due to space limitations, we follow a victory-through-sacrifice policy: sacrifice details in exchange for clarity of big-picture ideas. This policy results in our giving all-too-brief treatment to certain topics that have dominated discussion in the non-classical-logic area of truth studies. (This is particularly so of the ‘suitable conditoinal’ issue: §4.3.) Still, we present enough representative ideas that one may fruitfully turn from this essay to the more-detailed (...) cited works for further study. Throughout – again, due to space – we focus only on the most central motivation for standard non-classical-logic-based truth theories: namely, truth-theoretic paradox (specifically, due to space, the liar paradox). (shrink)
Although the recent emphasis on models in philosophy of science has been an important development, the consequence has been a shift away from more traditional notions of theory. Because the semantic view defines theories as families of models and because much of the literature on “scientific” modeling has emphasized various degrees of independence from theory, little attention has been paid to the role that theory has in articulating scientific knowledge. This paper is the beginning of what I hope will be (...) a redress of the imbalance. I begin with a discussion of some of the difficulties faced by various formulations of the semantic view not only with respect to their account of models but also with their definition of a theory. From there I go on to articulate reasons why a notion of theory is necessary for capturing the structure of scientific knowledge and how one might go about formulating such a notion in terms of different levels of representation and explanation. The context for my discussion is the BCS account of superconductivity, a `theory' that was, and still is, sometimes referred to as a `model'. BCS provides a nice focus for the discussion because it illuminates various features of the theory/model relationship that seem to require a robust notion of theory that is not easily captured by the semantic account. (shrink)
I argue against the conception of scientific models advocated by the proponents of the Semantic View of scientific theories. Part of the paper is devoted to clarifying the important features of the scientific modeling view that the Semantic conception entails. The liquid drop model of nuclear structure is analyzed in conjunction with the particular auxiliary hypothesis that is the guiding force behind its construction and it is argued that it does not meet the necessary features to render it a model (...) of the theory, as the Semantic View demands. Given that this model is indicative of how quantum mechanics is applied in the domain of nuclear physics, I claim that the Semantic View does not adequately account for scientific models. (shrink)
The positivistic Received View construed scientific theories syntactically as axiomatic calculi where theoretical terms were given a partial semantic interpretation via correspondence rules connecting them to observation statements. This paper assesses what, with hindsight, seem the most important defects in the Received View; surveys the main proposed successor analyses to the Received View--various Semantic Conception versions and the Structuralist Analysis; evaluates how well they avoid those defects; examines what new problems they face and where the most promising require further development (...) or leave unanswered questions; explores implications of recent work on models for understanding theories; and rebuts the few criticisms of the Semantic Conception that have surfaced. (shrink)
The frame problem is the problem of how we selectively apply relevant knowledge to particular situations in order to generate practical solutions. Some philosophers have thought that the frame problem can be used to rule out, or argue in favor of, a particular theory of belief states. But this is a mistake. Sentential theories of belief are no better or worse off with respect to the frame problem than are alternative theories of belief, most notably, the “map” theory of belief.
There are two reasons, I claim, scientists do and should ignore standard philosophical theories of objective evidence: (1) Such theories propose concepts that are far too weak to give scientists what they want from evidence, viz., a good reason to believe a hypothesis; and (2) They provide concepts that make the evidential relationship a priori, whereas typically establishing an evidential claim requires empirical investigation.
The dismissive attitude of intellectuals toward conspiracy theorists is considered and given some justification. It is argued that intellectuals are entitled to an attitude of prima facie skepticism toward the theories propounded by conspiracy theorists, because conspiracy theorists have an irrational tendency to continue to believe in conspiracy theories, even when these take on the appearance of forming the core of degenerating research program. It is further argued that the pervasive effect of the "fundamental attribution error" can explain the behavior (...) of such conspiracy theorists. A rival approach due to Brian Keeley, which involves the criticism of a subclass of conspiracy theories on epistemic grounds, is considered and found to be inadequate. Key Words: conspiracy conspiracy theories conspiracy theorizing. (shrink)
A pretence theory of a discourse is one which claims that we do not believe or assert the propositions expressed by the sentences we utter when taking part in the discourse: instead, we are speaking from within a pretence. Jason Stanley argues that if a pretence account of a discourse is correct, people with autism should be incapable of successful participation in it; but since people with autism are capable of participiating successfully in the discourses which pretence theorists aim to (...) account for, all these accounts should be rejected. I discuss how pretence theorists can respond, and apply this discussion to two pretence theories, Stephen Yablo's account of arithmetic and Kendall Walton's account of negative existentials. I show how Yablo and Walton can escape Stanley's objection. (shrink)
Using an example of a computer simulation of the convective structure of a red giant star, this paper argues that simulation is a rich inferential process, and not simply a "number crunching" technique. The scientific practice of simulation, moreover, poses some interesting and challenging epistemological and methodological issues for the philosophy of science. I will also argue that these challenges would be best addressed by a philosophy of science that places less emphasis on the representational capacity of theories (and ascribes (...) that capacity instead to models) and more emphasis on the role of theory in guiding (rather than determining) the construction of models. (shrink)
In this paper I attempt to defuse a set of epistemic worries commonly raised against ideal observer theories. The worries arise because of the omniscience often attributed to ideal observers -- how can we, as finite humans, ever have access to the moral judgements or reactions of omniscient beings? I argue that many of the same concerns arise with respect to other moral theories (and that these concerns do not in fact reveal genuine flaws in any of these theories), and (...) further, that we can and often do have knowledge of the reactions of ideal observers (according to standard, prominent theories in the domain of epistemology). (shrink)
Contemporary debates about the nature of semantic reference have tended to focus on two competing approaches: theories which emphasize the importance of descriptive information associated with a referring term, and those which emphasize causal facts about the conditions under which the use of the term originated and was passed on. Recent empirical work by Machery and colleagues suggests that both causal and descriptive information can play a role in judgments about the reference of proper names, with findings of cross-cultural variation (...) in judgments that imply differences between individuals with respect to whether they favor causal or descriptive information in making reference judgments. We extend this theoretical and empirical line of inquiry to views of the reference of natural and nominal kind concepts, which face similar challenges to those concerning the reference of proper names. In two experiments, we find evidence that both descriptive and causal factors contribute to judgments of concept reference, with no reliable differences between natural and nominal kinds. Moreover, we find evidence that the same individuals’ judgments can rely on both descriptive and causal information, such that variation between individuals cannot be explained by appeal to a mixed population of “pure descriptive theorists” and “pure causal theorists.” These findings suggest that the contrast between descriptive and causal theories of reference may be inappropriate; intuitions may instead support a hybrid theory of reference that includes both causal and descriptive factors. We propose that future research should focus on the relationship between these factors, and describe several possible frameworks for pursuing these issues. Our findings have implications for theories of semantic reference, as well as for theories of conceptual structure. (shrink)
Ancient philosophical theories of soul are in many respects sensitive to ways of speaking and thinking about the soul psuchê] that are not specifically philosophical or theoretical. We therefore begin with what the word ‘soul’ meant to speakers of Classical Greek, and what it would have been natural to think about and associate with the soul. We then turn to various Presocratic thinkers, and to the philosophical theories that are our primary concern, those of Plato (first in the Phaedo, then (...) in the Republic), Aristotle (in the De Anima or On the Soul ), Epicurus, and the Stoics. These are by far the most carefully worked out theories of soul in ancient philosophy. Later theoretical developments — for instance, in the writings of Plotinus and other Platonists, as well as the Church Fathers — are best studied against the background of the classical theories, from which, in large part, they derive. (shrink)
According to the semantic view, a theory is characterized by a class of mod- els. In this paper, we examine critically some of the assumptions that underlie this approach. First, we recall that models are models of something. Thus we cannot leave completely aside the axiomatization of the theories under consider- ation, nor can we ignore the metamathematics used to elaborate these models, for changes in the metamathematics often impose restrictions on the resulting models. Second, based on a parallel between (...) van Fraassen’s modal interpre- tation of quantum mechanics and Skolem’s relativism regarding set-theoretic concepts, we introduce a distinction between relative and absolute concepts in the context of the models of a scientific theory. And we discuss the significance of that distinction. Finally, by focusing on contemporary particle physics, we raise the question: since there is no general accepted unification of the parts of the standard model (namely, QED and QCD), we have no theory, in the usual sense of the term. This poses a difficulty: if there is no theory, how can we speak of its models? What are the latter models of? We conclude by noting that it is unclear that the semantic view can be applied to contemporary physical theories. (shrink)
Allen Buchanan has argued that a widely defended view of the nature of the state – the view that the state is a discretionary association for the mutual advantage of its members – must be rejected because it cannot adequately account for moral requirements of humanitarian intervention. This paper argues that Buchanan’s objection is unsuccessful,and moreover, that discretionary association theories can preserve an important distinction that Buchanan’s alternative approach to political legitimacy cannot: the distinction between “internal” legitimacy (a state’s ability (...) to morally justify itself to its own members) and “external” legitimacy (a state’s ability to morally justify itself to humanity more broadly). (shrink)
The idea of representation has been central in discussions of intentionality for many years. But only more recently has it begun playing a wider role in the philosophy of mind, particularly in theories of consciousness. Indeed, there are now multiple representational theories of consciousness, corresponding to different uses of the term "conscious," each attempting to explain the corresponding phenomenon in terms of representation. More cautiously, each theory attempts to explain its target phenomenon in terms of _intentionality_, and assumes that intentionality (...) is representation. (shrink)
Universals are usually considered to be universal properties. Since tropes are particular properties, if there are only tropes, there are no universals. However, universals might be thought of not only as common properties, but also as common aspects (“determinable universals”) and common wholes (“concrete universals”). The existence of these two latter concepts of universals is fully compatible with the assumption that all properties are particular. This observation makes possible three different trope theories, which accept tropes and no universals, tropes and (...) determinable universals and tropes and concrete universals. (shrink)
Much has been written about the ethics of humanitarian intervention in the past fifteen years. In this paper I discuss a variety of justifications that have been proposed (in fact, seven theories of justification), finding difficulties with each of them, and then I offer a theory of justification of my own. My approach to justification will differ from most of the earlier accounts in two ways. First, I begin the discussion of justification at a different point. Second, I seek to (...) expand the traditional discussion of humanitarian intervention to cover an area not usually addressed, namely, the question of the scope of justified humanitarian intervention. If humanitarian intervention is sometimes justified, precisely when is it justified? This is no merely academic question, given the belated appeal to humanitarian intervention on the part of those scrambling to provide a public justification of the war in Iraq. (shrink)
I demonstrate that the theory of persistence defended in Sider  does not accommodate our intuitions about counting sentences. I develop two theories that improve on Sider's: a contextualist theory and an error theory. I argue that the latter is stronger, simpler, and better fitted to some important ordinary language judgments than rival four-dimensionalist theories of persistence.
This highly successful textbook provides a systematic introduction to the principal theories of international relations. Combining incisive and original analyses with a clear and accessible writing style, it is ideal for introductory courses in international relations or international relations theory. Introduction to International Relations, Third Edition, focuses on the main theoretical traditions--realism, liberalism, international society, and theories of international political economy. The authors carefully explain how particular theories organize and sharpen our view of the world. They integrate excellent pedagogical features (...) throughout, including chapter summaries, key points, questions, further reading, web links, boxes, and world maps. New to this Edition: * Two new chapters, on social constructivism and foreign policy * An expanded companion website with web links to theoretical debates, maps and world situations, figures and tables from the text, and a flashcard glossary * A closer link between theory and practice * New glossary of key terms * Two-color text for easier navigation. (shrink)
In recent years, several systematic theories of linguistic meaning have been offered that give pride of place to linguistic practice, or the process of linguistic communication. Often these theories are referred to as neo-pragmatist or new pragmatist; I call them 'practice-based'. According to practice-based theories of meaning, the process of linguistic communication is somehow constitutive of, or otherwise essential for the existence of, propositional linguistic meaning. Moreover, these theories disavow, or downplay, the semantic importance of inflationary notions of representation. I (...) introduce the basic ideas and motives behind some practice-based theories of meaning, and offer some reasons why an eliminativist, non-quietist, epistemic practice-based approach to meaning that 1) disavows any explanatory role for the linguistic community as such, 2) prioritizes sentence meaning over word meaning, and 3) may , in the end, be naturalistic, should be favored over its practice-based competitors. (shrink)
The semantic view of theoriesis one according to which theoriesare construed as models of their linguisticformulations. The implications of thisview for scientific realism have been little discussed. Contraryto the suggestion of various champions of the semantic view,it is argued that this approach does not makesupport for a plausible scientific realism anyless problematic than it might otherwise be.Though a degree of independence of theory fromlanguage may ensure safety frompitfalls associated with logical empiricism, realism cannot be entertained unless models or (abstractedand/or idealized) (...) aspects thereof are spelled out in terms of linguistic formulations (such as mathematical equations),which can be interpreted in terms of correspondencewith the world. The putative advantage of thesemantic approach – its linguistic independence – isthus of no help to the realist. I consider recent treatmentsof the model-theoretic view (Suppe, Giere, Smith), and find that although some of these accounts harbour the promiseof realism, this promise is deceptive. (shrink)
For a long time it was believed that it was impossible to be realist about quantum mechanics. It took quite a while for the researchers in the foundations of physics, beginning with John Stuart Bell [Bell 1987], to convince others that such an alleged impossibility had no foundation. Nowadays there are several quantum theories that can be interpreted realistically, among which Bohmian mechanics, the GRW theory, and the many-worlds theory. The debate, though, is far from being over: in what respect (...) should we be realist regarding these theories? Two different proposals have been made: on the one hand, there are those who insist on a direct ontological interpretation of the wave function as representing physical bodies, and on the other hand there are those who claim that quantum mechanics is not really about the wave function. In this paper we will present and discuss one proposal of the latter kind that focuses on the notion of primitive ontology. (shrink)
Normative theorists like to divide normative theories into classes. One special point of focus has been to place utilitarianism into a larger class of theories which do not necessarily share its view about what is alone of impersonal intrinsic value, namely, individual human well-being, but do share another structural feature, roughly its demand that each person seek to maximize the realization of what is of impersonal intrinsic value. The larger class is distinguished from its complement in two apparently different ways. (...) Let us look briefly at these two ways. (shrink)
Conpiracy theories are widely deemed to be superstitious. Yet history appears to be littered with conspiracies successful and otherwise. (For this reason, "cock-up" theories cannot in general replace conspiracy theories, since in many cases the cock-ups are simply failed conspiracies.) Why then is it silly to suppose that historical events are sometimes due to conspiracy? The only argument available to this author is drawn from the work of the late Sir Karl Popper, who criticizes what he calls "the conspiracy theory (...) of society" in The Open Society and elsewhere. His critique of the conspiracy theory is indeed sound, but it is a theory no sane person maintains. Moreover, its falsehood is compatible with the prevalence of conspiracies. Nor do his arguments create any presumption against conspiracy theories of this or that. Thus the belief that it is superstitious to posit conspiracies is itself a superstition. The article concludes with some speculations as to why this superstition is so widely believed. (shrink)
The underdetermination of theory by data argument (UD) is traditionally construed as an argument that tells us that we ought to favour an anti-realist position over a realist position. I argue that when UD is constructed as an argument saying that theory choice is to proceed between theories that are empirically equivalent and adequate to the phenomena up until now, the argument will not favour constructive empiricism over realism. A constructive empiricist cannot account for why scientists are reasonable in expecting (...) one theory to be empirically adequate rather than another, given the criteria he suggests for theory choice. (shrink)
This paper evaluates an argument for the meta-philosophical conclusion that in order to produce a viable objection to a particular error theory, the objection must not be applicable to any error theory. The reason given for this conclusion is that error theories about some discourses are uncontroversial. But the examples given of uncontroversial error theories are not good ones, nor do there appear to be other examples available.
Higher Order theories of consciousness have their fair share of sympathisers, but the arguments mustered in their support are—to my mind—unduly persuasive. My aim in this paper is to show that Higher Order theories cannot accommodate the possibility of misrepresentation without either falling into contradiction, or collapsing into a First-Order theory. If this diagnosis is on the right track, then Higher Order theories—at least in the specific versions here considered—fail to give an account of what they set out to explain: (...) what is distinctive of ‘conscious’ phenomena. (shrink)
I Introduction This essay will canvass recent philosophical accounts of human agency that deploy a notion of 'self' (or 'agent') causation. Some of these accounts try to explicate this notion, whereas others only hint at its nature by way of contrast with the causality exhibited by impersonal physical systems. In these latter theories, the authors' main argumentative burden is that the apparent fundamental differences between personal and impersonal causal activity strongly suggest mind-body dualism. I begin by noting two distinct, yet (...) not commonly distinguished, philosophical motivations for pursuing an agent-causal account of human agency. In the course of discussing the accounts that some philosophers have developed in response to these considerations, I reconsider both the linkage of agent causation with mind-body dualism and its sharp cleavage from impersonal (or 'event') causation. (shrink)
Theories of Consciousness provides an introduction to a variety of approaches to consciousness, questions the nature of consciousness, and contributes to current debates about whether a scientific understanding of consciousness is possible. While discussing key figures including Descartes, Fodor, Dennett and Chalmers, the book incorporates identity theories, representational theories, intentionality, externalism and new information-based theories.
There are two major approaches to the individuation of scientific theories, that have been called syntactic and semantic. We prefer to call them the linguistic and non-linguistic conceptions. On the linguistic view, also known as the received view, theories are identified with (pieces of) languages. On the non-linguistic view, theories are identified with extra-linguistic structures, known as models. We would like to distinguish between strong and weak formulations of each approach. On the strong version of the linguistic approach, theories are (...) identified with certain formal-syntactic calculi, whereas on a weaker reading, theories are merely analyzed as collections of claims or propositions. Correspondingly, the strong semantic approach identifies.. (shrink)
Ordinarily, in mathematical and scientific practice, the notion of a “theory” is understood as follows: (SCT) Standard Conception of Theories : A theory T is a collection of statements, propositions, conjectures, etc. A theory claims that things are thus and so. The theory may be true, and may be false. A theory T is true if things are as T says they are, and T is false if things are not as T says they are. One can make this Aristotelian (...) explanation more precise, as Tarski showed, in the cases where we understand how to give precise logical analyses of theories, by identifying an interpreted language L, Á) in which T may be formulated. Here L is some formalized language and Á is an L-interpretation. One can define the satisfaction relation ⊨, holding between L-sentences j and L-interpretations, and then define the notion L-sentence j is true in L, Á)” as Á ⊨ j”. What is essential about this is that theories are truth bearers . They are bearers of semantic properties. (shrink)
A comparison of disjunctive theories of action and perception. The development of a theory of action that warrants the name, a disjunctive theory. On this theory, there is an exclusive disjunction: either an action or an event (in one sense). It follows that in that sense basic actions do not have events intrinsic to them.
Achinstein, Putnam, and others have urged the rejection of the received view on theories (which construes theories as axiomatic calculi where theoretical terms are given partial observational interpretations by correspondence rules) because (i) the notion of partial interpretation cannot be given precise formulation, and (ii) the observational-theoretical distinction cannot be drawn satisfactorily. I try to show that these are the wrong reasons for rejecting the received view since (i) is false and it is virtually impossible to demonstrate the truth of (...) (ii). Nonetheless, the received view should be rejected because it obscures a number of epistemologically important features of scientific theorizing. I show this by sketching an alternative analysis which reveals some of these features and gives a more faithful picture of scientific theorizing. (shrink)
There is now abundant evidence for the existence of two types of processing in human reasoning, decision making, and social cognition — one type fast, automatic, effortless, and non-conscious, the other slow, controlled, effortful, and conscious — which may deliver different and sometimes conflicting results (for a review, see Evans 2008). More recently, some cognitive psychologists have proposed ambitious theories of cognitive architecture, according to which humans possess two distinct reasoning systems — two minds, in fact — now widely referred (...) to as System 1 and System 2 (Evans 2003; Evans and Over 1996; Kahneman and Frederick 2002; Sloman 1996, 2002; Stanovich 1999, 2004, this volume). A composite characterization of the two systems runs as follows. System 1 is a collection of autonomous subsystems, many of which are old in evolutionary terms and whose operations are fast, automatic, effortless, non-conscious, parallel, shaped by biology and personal experience, and independent of working memory and general intelligence. System 2 is more recent, and its processes are slow, controlled, effortful, conscious, serial, shaped by culture and formal tuition, demanding of working memory, and related to general intelligence. In addition, it is often claimed that the two systems employ different procedures and serve different goals, with System 1 being highly contextualized, associative, heuristic, and directed to goals that serve the reproductive interests of our genes, and System 2 being decontextualized, rule-governed, analytic, and serving our goals as individuals. This is a very strong hypothesis, and theorists are already recognizing that it requires substantial qualification and complication (Evans 2006a, 2008, this volume; Stanovich this volume; Samuels, this volume). There are numerous issues. Do the various features mentioned really divide up into just two groups in the neat way suggested? Are the features ascribed to each system exclusive to that system, and are they essential to it? Are the systems completely separate or do they share processing resources? Do they operate in parallel and compete for control of behaviour, or do they cooperate, with System 1 generating default responses that are then assessed and sometimes overridden by System 2? There are also related questions about the memory systems associated with.... (shrink)
Recently some philosophers have urged that connectionist artificial intelligence is (potentially) eliminative for the propositional attitudes of folk psychology. At the same time, however, these philosophers have also insisted that since philosophy of science has failed to provide criteria distinguishing ontologically retentive from eliminative theory changes, the resulting eliminativism is not principled. Application of some resources developed within the semantic view of scientific theories, particularly recent formal work on the theory reduction relation, reveals these philosophers to be wrong in this (...) second contention, yet by and large correct in the first. (shrink)
In this paper, I show that the question of how dual process theories of reasoning and judgement account for conflict between System 1 (heuristic) and System 2 (analytic) processes needs to be explicated and addressed in future research work. I demonstrate that a simple additive probability model that describes such conflict can be mapped on to three different cognitive models. The pre-emptive conflict resolution model assumes that a decision is made at the outset as to whether a heuristic or analytic (...) process will control the response. The parallel-competitive model assumes that each system operates in parallel to deliver a putative response, resulting sometimes in conflict that then needs to be resolved. Finally, the default-interventionist model involves the cueing of default responses by the heuristic system that may or may not be altered by subsequent intervention of the analytic system. A second, independent issue also emerges from this discussion. The superior performance of higher-ability participants on reasoning tasks may be due to the fact that they engage in more analytic reasoning ( quantity hypothesis ) or alternatively to the fact that the analytic reasoning they apply is more effective ( quality hypothesis ). (shrink)
Interest in imagination dates back to Plato and Aristotle, but full-length works have been devoted to it only relatively recently by Sartre, McKellar, Furlong, Casey, Johnson, Warnock, Brann, and others. Despite their length and variety, however, these current theories take overly narrow views of this complex phenomenon. (1) Their definitions of “imagination” neglect the multiplicity of its meanings and tend to focus narrowly on the power of imaging alone (which produces images and imagery). But imagination in the fullest, most (...) encompassing sense centers instead on creativity, which involves both imaging and reasoning powers. (2) Current accounts of the operations of imagination narrowly construe it in fixed, immutable terms. But it’s instead a dynamic, evolving synergy of its psychological roots (images and symbols) and sociobiological roots (cultures and instincts). This synergy has transformed the roles of images and symbols in imagination (as Vygotsky, Goody, etc. note). For example, in the shift from mytheopic to scientific imagination, literacy and formal education fostered abstract symbolic thinking (reason), which differs from mytheopic thinking based on richly concrete associations (imagery). The result was “more than cool reason”, but experimental studies (by Perkins, Clement, etc.) show that it’s also more than just dreamy imagery. It’s a dynamic synergy of the two that has transformed both. (3) Current evaluations of imagination’s potentials are also narrow. They tend to focus on its role in mental life while ignoring social and political life. Also, they tend to follow romantic and existentialist customs of extolling imagination’s virtues without soberly critiquing its limitations. Again, they ignore the synergy of psychological, sociological and biological forces that shape mental and social evolution, and promote and constrain imagination in complex ways. For example, Sartre surreally asks us to choose our own nature with an imagination emancipated from institutional and instinctual strictures. Yet making intelligible choices depends on these strictures. (4) In conclusion, current theories define imagination narrowly in terms of imaging, they describe its operations in fixed and immutable terms, and they evaluate its potentials without examining the full interplay of forces shaping it. These shortcomings are remedied by a broader perspective that defines imagination more adequately and comprehensively, and that recognizes it’s complex roots, dynamic operations, and evolving potentials. (shrink)
Theories of Theories of Mind brings together contributions by a distinguished international team of philosophers, psychologists, and primatologists, who between them address such questions as: what is it to understand the thoughts, feelings, and intentions of other people? How does such an understanding develop in the normal child? Why, unusually, does it fail to develop? And is any such mentalistic understanding shared by members of other species? The volume's four parts together offer a state of the art survey of the (...) major topics in the theory-theory/simulationism debate within philosophy of mind, developmental psychology, the aetiology of autism and primatology. The volume will be of great interest to researchers and students in all areas interested in the 'theory of mind' debate. (shrink)
What is the nature of scientific progress, and what makes it possible? When we look back at the scientific theories of the past and compare them to the state of science today, there seems little doubt that we have made progress. But how have we made this progress? Is it a continuous process, which gradually incorporates past successes into present theories, or are entrenched theories overthrown by superior competitors in a revolutionary manner? Theories of Scientific Progress presents the arguments for (...) and against both these extremes, and the positions in between. It covers the interpretations of scientific progress from William Whewell through Karl Popper and Imre Lakatos to Thomas Kuhn and beyond, to the latest contemporary debates. Along the way John Losee introduces and discusses questions about evidential support and the comparison of theories; whether scientific progress aims at truth or merely problem-solving effectiveness; what mechanisms underlie either process; and whether there are necessary or sufficient conditions for scientific progress. He ends with a look at the analogy between the growth of science and the operation of natural selection in the organic world, and the current ideas of evolutionary theorists such as Stephen Toulmin and Michael Ruse. (shrink)
This article discusses explanatory theories of normative concepts and argues for a set of criteria of adequacy by which such theories may be evaluated. The criteria offered fall into four categories: ontological, theoretical, pragmatic, and moral. After defending the criteria and discussing their relative weighting, this article uses them to prune the set of available explanatory theories of oppression. Functionalist theories, including Hegelian recognition theory and Foucauldian social theory, are rejected, as are psychoanalytic theory and social dominance theory. Finally, the (...) article defends structural rational choice theory as the most promising methodology for explaining oppression. Key Words: oppression explanation rational choice theory. (shrink)