Todd argues for the integration of science and religion to form a new paradigm for the third millennium. He counters both the arguments made by fundamentalist Christians against science and the rejection of religion by the New Atheists, in particular Richard Dawkins and his followers. Drawing on the work of scientists, psychologists, philosophers, and theologians, Todd challenges the materialistic reductionism of our age and offers an alternative grounded in the visionary work taking place in a wide array of (...) disciplines including Jungian archetypal psychology, quantum mechanics, evolutionary biology,epistemology, neuroscience and an incarnational theology implicit in the evolutionary process. (shrink)
Phylloxera, ‘big science’ and the nature of scientific debate Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 1-3 DOI 10.1007/s11016-012-9668-z Authors Cain Todd, Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion, County South, Lancaster University, Lancaster, LA1 4YL UK Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
This paper argues that there is no genuine puzzle of ‘imaginative resistance’. In part 1 of the paper I argue that the imaginability of fictional propositions is relative to a range of different factors including the ‘thickness’ of certain concepts, and certain pre-theoretical and theoretical commitments. I suggest that those holding realist moral commitments may be more susceptible to resistance and inability than those holding non-realist commitments, and that it is such realist commitments that ultimately motivate the problem. However, I (...) argue that the relativity of imaginability is not a particularly puzzling feature of imagination. In part 2, I claim that it is the so-called ‘alethic’ puzzle, concerning fictional truth, which generates a real puzzle about imaginative resistance. However, I argue that the alethic puzzle itself depends on certain realist assumptions about the nature of fictional truth which are implausible and should be rejected in favour of an interpretive view of fictional truth. Once this is done, I contend, it becomes evident that the supposed problem of imaginative resistance as it has hitherto been discussed in the literature is not puzzling at all. (shrink)
There are several argumentative strategies for advancing the thesis that moral responsibility is incompatible with causal determinism. One prominent such strategy is to argue that agents who meet compatibilist conditions for moral responsibility can nevertheless be subject to responsibility-undermining manipulation. In this paper, I argue that incompatibilists advancing manipulation arguments against compatibilism have been shouldering an unnecessarily heavy dialectical burden. Traditional manipulation arguments present cases in which manipulated agents meet all compatibilist conditions for moral responsibility, but are (allegedly) not responsible (...) for their behavior. I argue, however, that incompatibilists can make do with the more modest (and harder to resist) claim that the manipulation in question is mitigating with respect to moral responsibility. The focus solely on whether a manipulated agent is or is not morally responsible has, I believe, masked the full force of manipulation-style arguments against compatibilism. Here, I aim to unveil their real power. (shrink)
In the literature on free will, fatalism, and determinism, a distinction is commonly made between temporally intrinsic (‘hard’) and temporally relational (‘soft’) facts at times; determinism, for instance, is the thesis that the temporally intrinsic state of the world at some given past time, together with the laws, entails a unique future (relative to that time). Further, it is commonly supposed by incompatibilists that only the ‘hard facts’ about the past are fixed and beyond our control, whereas the ‘soft facts’ (...) about the past needn’t be. A substantial literature arose in connection with this distinction, though no consensus emerged as to the proper way to analyze it. It is time, I believe, to revisit these issues. The central claim of this paper is that the attempts to analyze the hard/soft fact distinction got off on fundamentally the wrong track. The crucial feature of soft facts is that they (in some sense) depend on the future. Following recent work on the notion of dependence, however, I argue that the literature on the soft/hard distinction has failed to capture the sense of dependence at stake. This is because such attempts have tried to capture softness in terms of purely modal notions like entailment and necessitation. As I hope to show, however, such notions cannot capture the sort of asymmetrical dependence relevant to soft facthood. Arguing for this claim is the first goal of this paper. My second goal is to gesture towards what an adequate account of soft facthood will really look like. (shrink)
Think of the last thing someone did to you to seriously harm or offend you. And now imagine, so far as you can, becoming fully aware of the fact that his or her action was the causally inevitable result of a plan set into motion before he or she was ever even born, a plan that had no chance of failing. Should you continue to regard him or her as being morally responsible—blameworthy, in this case—for what he or she did? (...) Many have thought that, intuitively, you should not. Recently, Alfred Mele has employed this line of thought to mount what many have taken to be a powerful argument for incompatibilism: the “Zygote Argument”. However, in interesting new papers, John Martin Fischer and Stephen Kearns have each independently argued that the Zygote Argument fails. As I see it, the criticisms of Fischer and Kearns reveal some important questions about how the argument is meant to be—or how it would best be—understood. Once we make a slight (but important) modification to the argument, however, I think we will be able to see that the criticisms of Fischer and Kearns do not detract from its substantial force. (shrink)
The plane was going to crash, but it didn't. Johnny was going to bleed to death, but he didn't. Geach sees here a changing future. In this paper, I develop Geach's primary argument for the (almost universally rejected) thesis that the future is mutable (an argument from the nature of prevention), respond to the most serious objections such a view faces, and consider how Geach's view bears on traditional debates concerning divine foreknowledge and human freedom. As I hope to show, (...) Geach's view constitutes a radically new view on the logic of future contingents, and deserves the status of a theoretical contender in these debates. (shrink)
Central to Fischer and Ravizza's theory of moral responsibility is the concept of guidance control, which involves two conditions: (1) moderate reasons-responsiveness, and (2) mechanism ownership. We raise a worry for Fischer and Ravizza's account of (1). If an agent acts contrary to reasons which he could not recognize, this should lead us to conclude that he is not morally responsible for his behaviour; but according to Fischer and Ravizza's account, he satisfies the conditions for guidance control and is therefore (...) morally responsible. We consider ways in which the account of guidance control might be mended. (shrink)
Any theoretician constructing a serious model of consciousness should carefully assess the details of empirical data generated in the neurosciences and psychology. A failure to account for those details may cast doubt on the adequacy of that model. This paper presents a case in point. Dennett and Kinsbourne's (Dennett, D., & Kinsbourne, M. (1992). Time and the observer: The where and when of consciousness in the brain. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 15, 183-243) assault on the materialist version of the Cartesian (...) Theater model of the mind relies significantly on the superiority of their Multiple Drafts model of consciousness as an explanation of the phenomenon of metacontrast. However, their description of metacontrast is, in important ways, inadequate. The result is that their explanation of how the Multiple Drafts model handles this phenomenon fails to account for the actual data. In this paper I offer a more complete description of metacontrast, show how Dennett and Kinsbourne's explanation fails, and argue that there are good theoretical reasons for choosing the so-called Stalinesque model over the so-called Orwellian model. (shrink)
This paper addresses two recent debates in aesthetics: the ‘moralist debate’, concerning the relationship between the ethical and aesthetic evaluations of artworks, and the ‘cognitivist debate’, concerning the relationship between the cognitive and aesthetic evaluations of artworks. Although the two debates appear to concern quite different issues, I argue that the various positions in each are marked by the same types of confusions and ambiguities. In particular, they demonstrate a persistent and unjustified conflation of aesthetic and artistic value, which in (...) turn is based on a more general failure to explicitly tackle the demarcation of aesthetic value. As such, the claims of each side are rendered ambiguous in respect of the relation that is supposed to hold between all these types of value and artistic value. These issues are discussed in light of a recent argument proposed by Matthew Kieran, to undermine, to some extent, the conceptual distinction between aesthetic, cognitive-ethical, and artistic values in our appraisal of art works. In rejecting his argument, I defend the conceptual distinction and a pluralistic conception of artistic value that allows for cognitive and ethical values to count as artistic, but not aesthetic, values. (shrink)
How can anyone be rational in a world where knowledge is limited, time is pressing, and deep thought is often an unattainable luxury? Traditional models of unbounded rationality and optimization in cognitive science, economics, and animal behavior have tended to view decision-makers as possessing supernatural powers of reason, limitless knowledge, and endless time. But understanding decisions in the real world requires a more psychologically plausible notion of bounded rationality. In Simple heuristics that make us smart (Gigerenzer et al. 1999), we (...) explore fast and frugal heuristics – simple rules in the mind's adaptive toolbox for making decisions with realistic mental resources. These heuristics can enable both living organisms and artificial systems to make smart choices quickly and with a minimum of information by exploiting the way that information is structured in particular environments. In this précis, we show how simple building blocks that control information search, stop search, and make decisions can be put together to form classes of heuristics, including: ignorance-based and one-reason decision making for choice, elimination models for categorization, and satisficing heuristics for sequential search. These simple heuristics perform comparably to more complex algorithms, particularly when generalizing to new data – that is, simplicity leads to robustness. We present evidence regarding when people use simple heuristics and describe the challenges to be addressed by this research program. Key Words: adaptive toolbox; bounded rationality; decision making; elimination models; environment structure; heuristics; ignorance-based reasoning; limited information search; robustness; satisficing; simplicity. (shrink)
A prominent recent strategy for advancing the thesis that moral responsibility is incompatible with causal determinism has been to argue that agents who meet compatibilist conditions for responsibility could nevertheless be subject to certain sorts of deterministic manipulation, so that an agent could meet the compatibilist’s conditions for responsibility, but also be living a life the precise details of which someone else determined that she should live. According to the incompatibilist, however, once we became aware that agents had been manipulated (...) or ‘set up’ in the relevant way, we should no longer judge that they are responsible for their behavior, nor should we hold them responsible for it by blaming them, in case what they did was wrong. In this paper, I aim to shift the debate to different terrain. The focus so far has been simply on what we may or may not permissibly say or do concerning manipulated agents. But I believe a powerful new incompatibilist argument can be mounted from considering whether the manipulators themselves can justifiably blame the agents they manipulate in compatibilist-friendly ways. It seems strikingly counterintuitive to suppose that they may do so. The argument of this paper, however, is that, given the right story, incompatibilism provides the best explanation for why this is so. In short, the compatibilist must say that, while such manipulated agents are still responsible, the manipulators lack the moral standing to blame them. But I argue that, on compatibilist assumptions, this explanation ultimately fails. (shrink)
My primary aim in this paper is to outline a quasi-realist theory of aesthetic judgement. Robert Hopkins has recently argued against the plausibility of this project because he claims that quasi-realism cannot explain a central component of any expressivist understanding of aesthetic judgements, namely their supposed ‘autonomy’. I argue against Hopkins’s claims by contending that Roger Scruton’s aesthetic attitude theory, centred on his account of the imagination, provides us with the means to develop a plausible quasi-realist account of aesthetic judgement. (...) Finally, I respond to two recent attempts to discredit the validity of the notion of aesthetic autonomy. I claim that both fail adequately to address the underlying non-realist motivations and justifications for maintaining the principle. (shrink)
This article stresses the importance of one of Sartre's often overlooked novels, The Age of Reason (1945), and the possibility that it should be considered an early attempt by Sartre to answer the questions he raises at the very end of Being and Nothingness (1943). Considered as a preliminary response to Being and Nothingness , this novel provides an opportunity to explore how ethics might be lived, and draws a clear distinction between a theoretical understanding of being-for-itself and living authentically. (...) As such, it is argued that Sartre's fictional writings, especially The Age of Reason , must be taken seriously in Sartre scholarship. (shrink)
visual masking provides a clear illustration that ‘there is really only a verbal difference’ between two versions of the Cartesian Theater model of the mind. This alleged lack of a distinction is both the crucial premise of their main argument against the Cartesian Theater and a motivator for accepting their own Multiple Drafts model. I argue that metacontrast reveals a difference between the two versions of the Cartesian Theater that meets criteria found in (Dennett and Kinsbourne ) for determining such (...) a difference. This difference undermines the soundness of their argument against the Cartesian Theater, and exerts pressure on Dennett and Kinsbourne to offer a more detailed articulation of their model. Introduction Brief Explanation of Metacontrast Backward Visual Masking The Stalinesque and Orwellian Models of Metacontrast 3.1 Criteria for determining a difference A Difference That Makes a Difference 4.1 Skeptical hypothesis objection Other Objections and Replies 5.1 Straw person objection 5.2 Corroborative issues objection Conclusion CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
Multiple drug resistant strains of HIV and continuing difficulties with vaccine development highlight the importance of psychologi- cal interventions which aim to in uence the psychosocial and emo- tional factors empirically demonstrated to be significant predictors of immunity, illness progression and AIDS mortality in seropositive persons. Such data have profound implications for psychological interventions designed to modify psychosocial factors predictive of enhanced risk of exposure to HIV as well as the neuroendocrine and immune mechanisms mediating the impact of such factors (...) on disease progression. Many of these factors can be construed as unconscious mental ones, and psychoanalytic self-psychology may be a useful framework for conceptualizing psychic and immune de- fence as well as bodily and self-integration in HIV infection. Al- though further prospective studies and cross-cultural validation of research are necessary, existing data suggest that psychoanalytic insights may be useful both in therapeutic interventions and evaluative research which would require an underlying epistemology of the complementarity of mind and matter. (shrink)
In this article I examine the status of putative aesthetic judgements in science and mathematics. I argue that if the judgements at issue are taken to be genuinely aesthetic they can be divided into two types, positing either a disjunction or connection between aesthetic and epistemic criteria in theory/proof assessment. I show that both types of claim face serious difficulties in explaining the purported role of aesthetic judgements in these areas. I claim that the best current explanation of this role, (...) McAllister's 'aesthetic induction' model, fails to demonstrate that the judgements at issue are genuinely aesthetic. I argue that, in light of these considerations, there are strong reasons for suspecting that many, and perhaps all, of the supposedly aesthetic claims are not genuinely aesthetic but are in fact 'masked' epistemic assessments. (shrink)
In his The Phenomenon of Man, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin develops concepts of consciousness, the noosphere, and psychosocial evolution. This paper explores Teilhard’s evolutionary concepts as resonant with thinking in psychology and physics. It explores contributions from archetypal depth psychology, quantum physics, and neuroscience to elucidate relationships between mind and matter. Teilhard’s work can be seen as advancing this psychological lineage or psychogenesis. That is, the evolutionary emergence of matter in increasing complexity from sub-atomic particles to the human brain and (...) reflective consciousness leads to a noosphere evolving towards an Omega point. Teilhard’s central ideas provide intimations of a numinous principle implicit in cosmology and the discovery that in and through humanity evolution not only becomes conscious of itself but also directed and purposive. (shrink)
: Green consumerism is on the rise in America, but its environmental effects are contested. Does green marketing contribute to the greening of American consciousness, or does it encourage corporate greenwashing? This tenuous ethical position means that eco-marketers must carefully frame their environmental products in a way that appeals to consumers with environmental ethics and buyers who consider natural products as well as conventional items. Thus, eco-marketing constructs a complicated ethical identity for the green consumer. Environmentally aware individuals are already (...) guided by their personal ethics. In trying to attract new consumers, environmentally minded businesses attach an aesthetic quality to environmental goods. In an era where environmentalism is increasingly hip, what are the implications for an environmental ethics infused with a sense of aesthetics? This article analyzes the promotional materials of three companies that advertise their environmental consciousness: Burt's Bee's Inc., Tom's of Maine, Inc., and The Body Shop Inc. Responding to an increasing online shopping market, these companies make their promotional and marketing materials available online, and these web-based materials replicate their printed catalogs and indoor advertisements. As part of selling products to consumers based on a set of ideological values, these companies employ two specific discursive strategies to sell their products: they create enhanced notions of beauty by emphasizing the performance of their natural products, and thus infuse green consumerism with a unique environmental aesthetic. They also convey ideas of health through community values, which in turn enhances notions of personal health to include ecological well-being. This article explicates the ethical implications of a personal natural care discourse for eco-marketing strategies, and the significance of a green consumer aesthetic for environmental consciousness in general. (shrink)
In this paper I will argue that Professor Goodman was correct in thinking that there is a problem concerning counterfactual conditionals, but that it is somewhat different from the problem he thought it to be, and is one that is even more basic. I will also try to show that this problem is distinct from Hume's "problem" of induction, and that additional assumptions have to be made for counterfactual induction beyond those required for other kinds of induction.
Shepard promotes the important view that evolution constructs cognitive mechanisms that work with internalized aspects of the structure of their environment. But what can this internalization mean? We contrast three views: Shepard's mirrors reflecting the world, Brunswik's lens inferring the world, and Simon's scissors exploiting the world. We argue that Simon's scissors metaphor is more appropriate for higher-order cognitive mechanisms and ask how far it can also be applied to perceptual tasks. [Barlow; Kubovy & Epstein; Shepard].
Written as a conversational response to Rosa Luxemburg, this piece discusses the importance of going to the heart of the matter for education, seen here in terms of the actual flesh and blood subjects who are at the centre of a pedagogy of transformation.
A cosmopolitan ethic invites both an appreciation of the rich diversity of values, traditions and ways of life and a commitment to broad, universal principles of human rights that can secure the flourishing of that diversity. Despite the tension between universalism and particularism inherent in this outlook, it has received much recent attention in education. I focus here on one of the dilemmas to be faced in taking cosmopolitanism seriously, namely, the difficulty of judging what is just in the context (...) of an increasingly divergent public—and classroom—discourse about values, rights and equality. I propose in what follows that judgement cannot rely on any script, even one as attractive, perhaps, as cosmopolitanism. To explore what is at stake in making judgements in an educational context, I draw on both Hannah Arendt's and Emmanuel Levinas's notions of judgement and thinking. The paper discusses the educational significance of thought and judgement as conditions for reframing the universalism-particularism problem found in a cosmopolitan ethic. My argument is that there is a world of difference between educating for cosmopolitanism, which entails a faith in principles, and 'thinking cosmopolitan', which entails a hope in justice for my neighbours. (shrink)
Evolutionary psychologists should go beyond research on individual differences in attitudes and focus more on detailed models of psychological mechanisms. We argue for complementing attitude research with agent-based computational modeling of mate choice. Agent-based models require detailed specification of individual choice mechanisms that can be evaluated in terms of both their psychological plausibility and the population-level outcomes they produce.
A working assumption that processes of natural and cultural evolution have tailored the mind to fit the demands and structure of its environment begs the question: how are we to characterize the structure of cognitive environments? Decision problems faced by real organisms are not like simple multiple-choice examination papers. For example, some individual problems may occur much more frequently than others, whilst some may carry much more weight than others. Such considerations are not taken into account when (i) the performance (...) of candidate cognitive mechanisms is assessed by employing a simple accuracy metric that is insensitive to the structure of the decision-maker's environment, and (ii) reason is defined as the adherence to internalist prescriptions of classical rationality. Here we explore the impact of frequency and significance structure on the performance of a range of candidate decision-making mechanisms. We show that the character of this impact is complex, since structured environments demand that decision-makers trade off general performance against performance on important subsets of test items. As a result, environment structure obviates internalist criteria of rationality. Failing to appreciate the role of environment structure in shaping cognition can lead to mischaracterising adaptive behavior as irrational. (shrink)
Teachers are often placed in a space of tensionbetween responding to students as persons andresponding to students through theirinstitutionally-defined roles. Particularlywith respect to eros, which has becomeincreasingly the subject of strictinstitutional legislation and regulation,teachers have little recourse to a language ofresponsibility outside an institutional frame. By studying the significance of communicativeambiguity for responsibility, this paperexplores what is ethically at stake forteachers in erotic forms of communication. Specifically, it is Levinas's own ambiguousunderstanding of the ethical significance oferos, and what we have (...) to learn from it, thatoffers a way of reading the place of eros inresponsibility. I conclude my discussion withsome thoughts on what a renewed understandingof responsibility might mean at the personaland institutional levels. (shrink)