Some time ago, John Perry argued that the content of an indexical belief, that is, a belief expressible with a sentence containing an indexical or demonstrative, cannot be a proposition. I consider several of his arguments for this view, and show that they can be extended to show that belief expressible with other non-indexical expressions such as natural kind terms and proper names presents the very same problem for the traditional picture. I then suggest that if indexical belief has any (...) special status, this is not because it has a special kind of content, but rather because action is impossible if agents do not have indexical belief. (shrink)
Understanding a conversation sometimes requires us to keep track of what has been said about the objects under discussion. This fact presents a problem for a familiar account of content, the Russellian theory as advanced by Scott Soames and Nathan Salmon. Here I sketch an account of keeping track of objects in conversation, on which it involves presupposing unexpressed identity statements about the objects under discussion. The account is an application of a Stalnaker-style possible worlds account of assertion content, that (...) treats these unexpressed identities as part of an evolving set of presuppositions. Finally, I propose a two-dimensionalist extension of the basic Stalnakerian account to deal with the sort of case in which utterances are best understood as conveying the diagonal proposition of a two-dimensional propositional concept. These are discourses in which some of all parties to the conversation are confused about exactly which object is being discussed, even though they do keep track of what has been said about it. (shrink)
those nations which have grown vast by conquering adjacent nations, show that, as said above, the cardinal trait of fighting peoples is the subjection of man to man and of group to group. Graduated subordination, which is the method of army-organization, becomes more and more the method of civil organization where militancy is chronic; since where militancy is chronic, the civil part becomes little else than a commissariat supplying the wants of the militant part, and is more and more subject (...) to the same discipline. Further, familiar facts prove that emergence from those barbaric types of society evolved by chronic militancy, brings with it a decrease of this graduated subordination, and there results, as recent centuries have shown, an increase of freedom. To which let it be added that where, as among ourselves, the militant activities have for ages been less marked and the militant organization less pronounced, the growth of free institutions begins earlier.. (shrink)
At first sight the title Â“RegimentationÂ” seems to imply nothing more than a description in detail of the changes set forth above; but while in part it brings into view one side of these changes, and suggests their common tendency, it serves a further end. I use it here to express certain wider changes which are their concomitants. For as indicated some pages back, and as shown at length in The Principles of Sociology , in a chapter on Â “The (...) Militant Type,Â” that graduated subordination which we see in an army, characterizes a militant society at large more and more as militancy increases. (shrink)
Roy Sorensen has discussed a scenario he calls 'the Disappearing Act', introduced a puzzle based on this scenario, and offered a solution to this puzzle. We argue against Sorensen's solution and offer our own.
A familiar story about phenomenal knowledge likens it to indexical knowledge, i.e. knowledge about oneself typically expressed with sentences containing indexicals or demonstratives. The popularity of this sort of story owes in part to its promise of resolving some longstanding puzzles about phenomenal knowledge. One such puzzle arises from the compelling arguments that we can have full objective knowledge of the world while lacking some phenomenal knowledge. I argue that the widespread optimism about the indexical account on this score is (...) unwarranted. (shrink)
In this paper, I take issue with the familiar view that the problem of the essential indexical is a merely technical problem, which can be solved through a straightforward revision of the familiar model of belief content. (The familiar model just says that the content of belief is a proposition.) I do not object to these technical fixes, but I think they leave some questions unanswered. Specifically, they deny us an attractive account of what it is for different people to (...) completely agree on their conception of what the world is like, according to which complete agreement consists in having beliefs with the same propositional content, but they do not give us anything to replace it with. Here, I consider whether we can say anything general about the relation between my beliefs and your beliefs (including, of course, our indexical beliefs), when you and I completely agree about what the world is like. (shrink)
words express the sentiment which sways the British nation in its dealings with the Boer republics; and this sentiment it is which, definitely displayed in this case, pervades indefinitely the political feeling now manifesting itself as Imperialism. Supremacy, where not clearly imagined, is vaguely present in the background of consciousness. Not the derivation of the word only, but all its uses and associations, imply the thought of predominance – imply a correlative subordination. Actual or potential coercion of others, individuals or (...) communities, is necessarily involved in the conception. (shrink)
The early abolition of serfdom in England, the early growth of relatively free institutions, and the greater recognition of popular claims after the decay of feudalism had divorced the masses from the soil, were traits of English life which may be looked back upon with pride. When it was decided that any slave who set foot in England became free; when the importation of slaves into the Colonies was stopped; when twenty millions were paid for the emancipation of slaves in (...) the West Indies; and when, however unadvisedly, a fleet was maintained to stop the slave trade; our countrymen did things worthy to be admired. And when England gave a home to political refugees and took up the causes of small states struggling for freedom, it again exhibited noble traits which excite affection. But there are traits, unhappily of late more frequently displayed, which do the reverse. Contemplation of the acts by which England has acquired over eighty possessions – settlements, colonies, protectorates, &c. – does not arouse feelings of satisfaction. The transitions from missionaries to resident agents, then to officials having armed forces, then to punishments of those who resist their rule, ending in so called “pacification” – these processes of annexation, now gradual and now sudden, as that of the new Indian province and that of Barotziland, which was declared a British colony with no more regard for the wills of the inhabiting people than for those of the inhabiting beasts – do not excite sympathy with their perpetrators. Love of country is not fostered in me on remembering that when, after our Prime Minister had declared that we were bound in honour to the Khedive to reconquer the Soudan, we, after the re conquest, forthwith began to administer it in the name of the Queen and the Khedive – practically annexing it; nor when, after promising through the mouths of two Colonial Ministers not to interfere in the internal affairs of the Transvaal, we proceeded to insist on certain electoral arrangements, and made resistance the excuse for a desolating war.. (shrink)
This early essay of Spencer's was originally published anonymously in The Leader for March 20 1852. It was the second contribution in a regular series entitled "The Haythorne Papers". Spencer's identity was revealed some while after. It is reproduced in Herbert Spencer, Essays Scientific, Political & Speculative, Williams and Norgate (3 vols 1891) pp.1 7]; and here in full. David Clifford, Ph.D., Cambridge University, prepared the html text in 1997; George P. Landow reformatted it in 2008.
LKK.II.1 23 August. – Since writing to you on Sunday it has recurred to me, in pursuance of my remarks about Japanese affairs and the miscarriage of your constitution, to make a suggestion giving in a definite form such a conservative policy as I thought should be taken. LKK.II.2 My advice to Mr. Mori was that the proposed new institutions should be as much as possible grafted upon the existing institutions, so as to prevent breaking the continuity – that there (...) should not be a replacing of old forms by new, but a modification of old forms to a gradually increasing extent. I did not at the time go into the matter so far as to suggest in what way this might be done, but it now occurs to me that there is a very feasible way of doing it. LKK.II.3 You have, I believe, in Japan still surviving the ancient system of family.. (shrink)
§ . As a corollary to the proposition that all institutions must be subordinated to the law of equal freedom, we cannot choose but admit the right of the citizen to adopt a condition of voluntary outlawry. If every man has freedom to do all that he wills, provided he infringes not the equal freedom of any other man, then he is free to drop connection with the state - to relinquish its protection and to refuse paying toward its support. (...) It is self evident that in so behaving he in no way trenches upon the liberty of others, for his position is a passive one, and while passive he cannot become an aggressor. It is equally self evident that he cannot be compelled to continue one of a political corporation without a breach of the moral law, seeing that citizenship involves payment of taxes; and the taking away of a man's property against his will is an infringement of his rights. Government being simply an agent employed in common by a number of individuals to secure to them certain advantages, the very nature of the connection implies that it is for each to say whether he will employ such an agent or not. If anyone of them determines to ignore this mutual safety confederation, nothing can be said except that he loses all claim to its good offices and exposes himself to the danger of maltreatment - a thing he is quite at liberty to do if he likes. He cannot be coerced into political combination without a breach of the law of equal freedom; he can withdraw from it without committing any such breach, and he has therefore a right so to withdraw. (shrink)
Eschewing a truncated focus on single proof-texts, Matthew's Jesus interprets Scripture by Scripture across the canon in creative and provocative ways. His hermeneutical methods and aims resist narrow profiling. Above all, Matthew's Jesus emerges as the church's authoritative biblical exegete and teacher.
There is substantial evidence that people with Schizophrenia (SCZ) have altered visual perception and cognition, including impaired face processing. However, the mechanism(s) underlying this observation are not yet known. Eye movement studies have found that people with SCZ do not direct their gaze to the most informative regions of the face (e.g., the eyes). This suggests that SCZ patients may be less able to extract the most relevant face information and therefore have decreased calculation efficiency. In addition, research with non-face (...) stimuli indicates that SCZ is associated with increased levels of internal noise. Importantly, both calculation efficiency and internal noise have been shown to underpin face perception among healthy observers. Therefore, the current study applies noise masking to upright and inverted faces to determine if face processing deficits among those with SCZ are the result of changes in calculation efficiency, internal noise, or both. Consistent with previous results, SCZ participants exhibited higher contrast thresholds in order to identify masked target faces. However, higher thresholds were associated with increases in internal noise but unrelated to changes in calculation efficiency. These results suggest that SCZ-related face processing deficits are the result of a decreased noise-to-signal ratio. The source of increased processing noise among these patients is unclear, but may emanate from abnormal neural dynamics. (shrink)
In the philosophy of Alain Badiou, ethics can only arise in relation to an evental truth procedure that breaks from the economic logic of a situation. Further, because for Badiou there cannot be economic truths per se – rather, economic matters must be understood in their relation to one or more truths in the domain of love, art, science or politics – a Badiouian business ethics would look entirely distinct from any ethics that simply places limits on certain kinds of (...) economic activity. Although Slavoj Žižek, among others, has suggested that this marks an essential weakness in Badiou's economic/political theory, it may actually be the greatest strength of his position. Within a capitalist system, a Badiouian business ethics would then be a question of mobilizing economic resources in order to serve the ongoing construction of a truth procedure. For a business to be considered ethical on Badiou's terms, it must break – and continue to break – from the dominant logic of capitalism and its merely economic pursuit of profit maximization. (shrink)
Looking is a fundamental exploratory behavior by which infants acquire knowledge about the world. In theories of infant habituation, however, looking as an exploratory behavior has been deemphasized relative to the reliable nature with which looking indexes active cognitive processing. We present a new theory that connects looking to the dynamics of memory formation and formally implement this theory in a Dynamic Neural Field model that learns autonomously as it actively looks and looks away from a stimulus. We situate this (...) model in a habituation task and illustrate the mechanisms by which looking, encoding, working memory formation, and long-term memory formation give rise to habituation across multiple stimulus and task contexts. We also illustrate how the act of looking and the temporal dynamics of learning affect each other. Finally, we test a new hypothesis about the sources of developmental differences in looking. (shrink)
Upshot: Albeit mostly supportive of our work, the commentaries we received highlighted a few points that deserve additional explanation, with regard to the notion of learning in our model, the relationship between our model and the brain, as well as the notion of anticipation. This open discussion emphasizes the need for toy computer models, to fuel theoretical discussion and prevent business-as-usual from getting in the way of new ideas.
Context: Constructivist approaches to cognition have mostly been descriptive, and now face the challenge of specifying the mechanisms that may support the acquisition of knowledge. Departing from cognitivism, however, requires the development of a new functional framework that will support causal, powerful and goal-directed behavior in the context of the interaction between the organism and the environment. Problem: The properties affecting the computational power of this interaction are, however, unclear, and may include partial information from the environment, exploration, distributed processing (...) and aggregation of information, emergence of knowledge and directedness towards relevant information. Method: We posit that one path towards such a framework may be grounded in these properties, supported by dynamical systems. To assess this hypothesis, we describe computational models inspired from swarm intelligence, which we use as a metaphor to explore the practical implications of the properties highlighted. Results: Our results demonstrate that these properties may serve as the basis for complex operations, yielding the elaboration of knowledge and goal-directed behavior. Implications: This work highlights aspects of interaction that we believe ought to be taken into account when characterizing the possible mechanisms underlying cognition. The scope of the models we describe cannot go beyond that of a metaphor, however, and future work, theoretical and experimental, is required for further insight into the functional role of interaction with the environment for the elaboration of complex behavior. Constructivist content: Inspiration for this work stems from the constructivist impetus to account for knowledge acquisition based on interaction. (shrink)
In John Dewey & Moral Imagination, Steven Fesmire blames "Plato's low estimation of imagination in the Republic and Ion" for the denigration of imagination's role in moral deliberation (61). He argues that John Dewey's dramatic rehearsal better integrates imagination into the process of moral deliberation. His treatment of Plato represents a habit among pragmatists to reduce Dewey's reading of Plato to the polemics present in major works, such as The Quest for Certainty. In fact, Plato was Dewey's favorite philosopher, and (...) he claimed that "[n]othing could be more helpful to present philosophizing than a 'Back to Plato' movement" (LW 5:154).1 Following the scholarship of John Herman Randall and Henry Wolz reveals .. (shrink)
This article addresses competing arguments from ethics as well as economics about the obstacles and opportunities for promoting high quality work (i.e. work that sustains and enhances well-being). It ultimately defends on ethical as well as economic grounds the case for maximising the number and equalising the distribution of high quality work opportunities and outlines some policy measures that might be used to achieve the latter objective. The article contributes to the business ethics literature principally by offering a systematic and (...) interdisciplinary analysis of the scope and necessity for progress in the quality of working life. (shrink)
The general composition question asks “what are the necessary and jointly sufficient conditions any xs and any y must satisfy in order for it to be true that those xs compose that y?” Although this question has received little attention, there is an interesting and theoretically fruitful answer. Namely, strong composition as identity (SCAI): necessarily, for any xs and any y, those xs compose y iff those xs are identical to y. SCAI is theoretically fruitful because if it is true, (...) then there is an answer to one of the most difficult and intractable questions of mereology (The Simple Question). In this paper, I introduce the identity account of simplicity and argue that if SCAI is true then this identity account of simplicity is as well. I consider an objection to the identity account of simplicity. Ultimately, I find this objection unsuccessful. (shrink)
The Principle of Alternative Possibilities is the intuitive idea that someone is morally responsible for an action only if she could have done otherwise. Harry Frankfurt has famously presented putative counterexamples to this intuitive principle. In this paper, I formulate a simple version of the Principle of Alternative Possibilities that invokes a course-grained notion of actions. After warming up with a Frankfurt-Style Counterexample to this principle, I introduce a new kind of counterexample based on the possibility of time travel. At (...) the end of the paper, I formulate a more sophisticated version of the Principle of Alternative Possibilities that invokes a certain fine grained notion of actions. I then explain how this new kind of counterexample can be augmented to show that even the more sophisticated principle is false. (shrink)
People with schizophrenia (SCZ) are impaired in several domains of visual processing, including the discrimination and detection of biological motion. However, the mechanisms underlying SCZ-related biological motion processing deficits are unknown. Moreover, whether these impairments are specific to biological motion or represent a more widespread visual motion processing deficit is unclear. In the current study, three experiments were conducted to investigate the contribution of global coherent motion processing to biological motion perception among patients with SCZ. In Experiments 1 and 2, (...) participants with SCZ (n=33) and healthy controls (n=33) were asked to discriminate the direction of motion from upright and inverted point-light walkers in the presence and absence of a noise mask. Additionally, participants discriminated the direction of non-biological global coherent motion. In Experiment 3, participants discriminated the direction of motion from upright scrambled walkers (which contained only local motion information) and upright random-position walkers (which contained only global form information). Consistent with previous research, results from Experiment 1 and 2 showed that people with SCZ exhibited deficits in the direction discrimination of point-light walkers; however, this impairment was accounted for by decreased performance in the coherent motion control task. Furthermore, results from Experiment 3 demonstrated similar performance in the discrimination of scrambled and random position point-light walkers. (shrink)