Abstract The view that mirror self-recognition (MSR) is a definitive demonstration of self-awareness is far from universally accepted, and those who do support the view need a more robust argument than the mere assumption that self-recognition implies a self-concept (e.g. Gallup in Socioecology and Psychology of Primates, Mouton, Hague, 1975 ; Gallup and Suarez in Psychological Perspectives on the Self, vol 3, Erlbaum, Hillsdale, 1986 ). In this paper I offer a new argument in favour of the view that MSR (...) shows self-awareness by examining the nature of the mirror image itself. I argue, using the results of ‘symbol-mindedness’ experiments by Deloache (Trends Cogn Sci 8(2):66–70, 2004) , that where self-recognition exists, the mirror image must be functioning as a symbol from the perspective of the subject and the subject must therefore be ‘symbol-minded’ and hence concept possessing. Further to this, according to the Concept Possession Hypothesis of Self-Consciousness (Savanah in Conscious Cogn 2011 ), concept possession alone is sufficient to demonstrate the existence of self-awareness. Thus MSR as a demonstration of symbol-mindedness implies the existence of self-awareness. I begin by defending the ‘mark test’ protocol as a robust methodology for determining self-recognition. Then follows a critical examination of the extreme views both for and against the interpretation of MSR as an indication of self-awareness: although the non-mentalistic interpretation of MSR is unconvincing, the argument presented by Gallup is also inadequate. I then present the symbol-mindedness argument to fill in the gaps in the Gallup approach. Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-17 DOI 10.1007/s10539-012-9318-2 Authors Stephane Savanah, ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders (CCD), Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW 2109, Australia Journal Biology and Philosophy Online ISSN 1572-8404 Print ISSN 0169-3867. (shrink)
Vera & Simon (1993a) have argued that the theories and methods known as situated action or situativity theory are compatible with the assumptions and methodology of the physical symbol systems hypothesis and do not require a new approach to the study of cognition. When the central criterion of computational universality is added to the loose definition of a symbol system which Vera and Simon provide, it becomes apparent that there are important incompatibilities between the two approaches such (...) that situativity theory cannot be subsumed within the symbol systems approach. Symbol systems and situativity theoretic approaches are, and should be seen to be, competing approaches to the study of cognition. (shrink)
Classical cognitive science assumes that intelligently behaving systems must be symbol processors that are implemented in physical systems such as brains or digital computers. By contrast, connectionists suppose that symbol manipulating systems could be approximations of neural networks dynamics. Both classicists and connectionists argue that symbolic computation and subsymbolic dynamics are incompatible, though on different grounds. While classicists say that connectionist architectures and symbol processors are either incompatible or the former are mere implementations of the latter, connectionists (...) reply that neural networks might be incompatible with symbol processors because the latter cannot be implementations of the former. In this contribution, the notions of 'incompatibility' and 'implementation' will be criticized to show that they must be revised in the context of the dynamical system approach to cognitive science. Examples for implementations of symbol processors that are incompatible with respect to contextual topologies will be discussed. (shrink)
By studying Durkheim through a Schopenhauerian lens, the one-sidedly cognitivist and functionalist reception of his social theory can be balanced. Durkheim explicitly rejected such monistic interpretations. His dialectical approach was always aimed at an essentially dualistic perception of man and society, wherein the lower pole, the individual, is central. In Durkheim's symbol theory, this position leads to two kinds of symbols: those that are bound to the human body, here called "this and that" symbols, and those people can (...) choose freely, here called "this for that" symbols. This twofold symbol theory can already be found in medieval philosophy (e.g. Dante Alighieri) as well as in the work of Paul Ricoeur. For Durkheim the human person is the symbol par excellence. By implication the rituals in which the person is (re)constructed, that is the rites of passage, should be central. The interpretation here opens up new perspectives for a more psychological interpretation of Durkheim's sociology. (shrink)
In "Why brains matter: an integrational perspective on The Symbolic Species" Cowley (2002) [Language Sciences 24, 73-95] suggests that Deacon pictures brains as being able to process words qua tokens, which he identifies as the theory's Achilles' heel. He goes on to argue that Deacon's thesis on the co-evolution of language and mind would benefit from an integrational approach. This paper argues that Cowley's criticism relies on an invalid understanding of Deacon's use the concept of "symbolic reference", which he (...) appropriates from Peirce's semiotic. Peirce's analysis as well as Deacon's appropriation will be examined in detail. Consequently it will be argued that an integrationist reading would add very little to Deacon's core thesis. (shrink)
Symbol formation is a term used to unify the view on the interdependencies in the research of the Hamburg University before 1933: the Philosophical Institute (William Stern, Ernst Cassirer), the Psychological Institute (Stern) with its laboratory (Heinz Werner) in cooperation with the later joining Umwelt Institut (Jakob von Uexküll). The term, definitely used by Cassirer and Werner, is associated with the personalistic approach: “Keine Gestalt ohne Gestalter” (Stern), but also covers related terms like “melody of motion” (Uexküll), and (...) “relational content” (Cassirer), discussing the term “empirical scheme” (Kant). All this scientific interest addressed personal forces to structure thresholds in equivalent stimuli. This view on intermodal formation allowed research in common aspects in the environments of animals, of children and adults to meet there the symbol formation of artists (Weimar Bauhaus) and poets like R. M. Rilke, a friend of Uexküll. (shrink)
In this paper, I assess Martha Nussbaum's application of the capabilities approach to non-human animals for both its philosophical merits and its potential to affect public policy. I argue that there are currently three main philosophical problems with the theory that need further attention. After discussing these problems, I show how focusing on factory farming would enable Nussbaum to demonstrate the philosophical merits of the capabilities approach as well as to suggest more powerful and effectives changes in our (...) public policies. (shrink)
The paper presents a paradoxical feature of computational systems that suggests that computationalism cannot explain symbol grounding. If the mind is a digital computer, as computationalism claims, then it can be computing either over meaningful symbols or over meaningless symbols. If it is computing over meaningful symbols its functioning presupposes the existence of meaningful symbols in the system, i.e. it implies semantic nativism. If the mind is computing over meaningless symbols, no intentional cognitive processes are available prior to (...) class='Hi'>symbol grounding. In this case, no symbol grounding could take place since any grounding presupposes intentional cognitive processes. So, whether computing in the mind is over meaningless or over meaningful symbols, computationalism implies semantic nativism. (shrink)
Recent work in the ethics of war has done much to challenge the collectivism of the convention-based, Walzerian just war theory. In doing so, it raises the question of when it is permissible for soldiers to resort to force. This article considers this issue and, in doing so, argues that the rejection of collectivism in just war should go further still. More specifically, it defends the ‘Individual-Centric Approach’ to the deep morality of war, which asserts that the justifiability of (...) an individual’s contribution to the war, rather than the justifiability of the war more generally, determines the moral acceptability of their participation. It then goes on to present five implications of the Individual-Centric Approach, including for individual liability to attack in war. (shrink)
This paper provides a critical exploration of the capability approach to human rights (CAHR) with the specific aim of developing its potential for achieving a synthesis between “humanist” or “naturalistic” and “political” or “practical” perspectives in the philosophy of human rights. Section II presents a general strategy for achieving such a synthesis. Section III provides an articulation of the key insights of CAHR (its focus on actual realizations given diverse circumstances, its pluralism of grounds, its emphasis on freedom of (...) choice, its demand for public reasoning, its context-sensitive universalism, and its broad view of obligations). These insights go some way toward the achievement of the desired synthesis. But, as explained in IV.1, in its current form CAHR faces two serious objections by the defenders of the political perspective: the Gap Between Capabilities-Interests and Rights Objection and the Disconnect From Practice Objection. Answering these criticisms requires some amendments to CAHR. Section IV.2 suggests a response to the first objection based on the introduction of a contractualist framework of justification. Sections IV.3 and IV.4 tackle the second objection by introducing a re-characterization of the cosmopolitan standard underlying the humanist perspective and by identifying the differences and relations between various dimensions of a conception of human rights and their significance for actual political practice. The paper illustrates the practical implications of CAHR, in its modified form, for the pursuit of some important rights. (shrink)
One holistic thesis about symbols is that a symbol cannot exist singly, but only as apart of a symbol system. There is also the plausible view that symbol systems emerge gradually in an individual, in a group, and in a species. The problem is that symbol holism makes it hard to see how a symbol system can emerge gradually, at least if we are considering the emergence of a first symbol system. The only way (...) it seems possible is if being a symbol can be a matter of degree, which is initially problematic. This article explains how being a cognitive symbol can be a matter of degree after all. The contrary intuition arises from the way a process of interpretation forces an all-or-nothing character on symbols, leaving room for underlying material to realize symbols to different degrees in a way that Daniel Dennett’s work can help illuminate. Holism applies to symbols as interpreted, while gradualism applies to how the underlying material realizes symbols.Selon une thèse holistique sur les symboles, un symbole ne peut exister isolément mais doit faire partie d’un systéme symbolique. Une opinion, elle aussi plausible, veut que les systèmes symboliques émergent graduellement chez un individu, un groupe ou une espèce. Le problème c’est qu’on voit mal, si le holisme des systèmes symboliques tient, comment un système symbolique peut émerger graduellement, du moins pour la première fois. Ce n’est possible, semble-t-il, que si être un symbole est affaire de degré, thèse au départ problématique. Cet article explique comment être un symbole cognitif peut après tout être affaire de degré. L’intuition contraire vient de ce que le processus d’interprétation nous force au tout ou rien, ce qui laisse un jeu dans la façon dont le matériel sous-jacent réalise les symboles à des degrés divers. Les travaux de Daniel Dennett sont à cet égard éclairants. Le holisme vaut pour les symboles tels qu’ils sont interprétés, tandis que le gradualisme vaut pour la façon dont le matériel sous-jacent réalise les symboles. (shrink)
This manuscript describes a pilot study in ethics education employing a problem-based learning approach to the study of novel, complex, ethically fraught, unavoidably public, and unavoidably divisive policy problems, called “fractious problems,” in bioscience and biotechnology. Diverse graduate and professional students from four US institutions and disciplines spanning science, engineering, humanities, social science, law, and medicine analyzed fractious problems employing “navigational skills” tailored to the distinctive features of these problems. The students presented their results to policymakers, stakeholders, experts, and (...) members of the public. This approach may provide a model for educating future bioscientists and bioengineers so that they can meaningfully contribute to the social understanding and resolution of challenging policy problems generated by their work. (shrink)
What language allows us to do is to "steal" categories quickly and effortlessly through hearsay instead of having to earn them the hard way, through risky and time-consuming sensorimotor "toil" (trial-and-error learning, guided by corrective feedback from the consequences of miscategorisation). To make such linguistic "theft" possible, however, some, at least, of the denoting symbols of language must first be grounded in categories that have been earned through sensorimotor toil (or else in categories that have already been "prepared" for us (...) through Darwinian theft by the genes of our ancestors); it cannot be linguistic theft all the way down. The symbols that denote categories must be grounded in the capacity to sort, label and interact with the proximal sensorimotor projections of their distal category-members in a way that coheres systematically with their semantic interpretations, both for individual symbols, and for symbols strung together to express truth-value-bearing propositions. (shrink)
I argue that, contrary to common opinion, (i) unintended models do not pose a significant problem for syntactic approaches to scientific theories, (ii) in syntactic approaches, scientific theories can be as well connected to the world as in semantic ones, and (iii) some syntactic approaches are at least as language independent as semantic ones. Based on these results, I argue that syntactic and semantic approaches fare equally well when it comes to (iv) capturing the theory-observation relation, (v) ease of application, (...) and (vi) accommodating the use of models in the sciences. (shrink)
Symbols should be grounded, as has been argued before. But we insist that they should be grounded not only in subsymbolic activities, but also in the interaction between the agent and the world. The point is that concepts are not formed in isolation (from the world), in abstraction, or "objectively." They are formed in relation to the experience of agents, through their perceptual/motor apparatuses, in their world and linked to their goals and actions. This paper takes a detailed look at (...) this relatively old issue, with a new perspective, aided by our work of computational cognitive model development. To further our understanding, we also go back in time to link up with earlier philosophical theories related to this issue. The result is an account that extends from computational mechanisms to philosophical abstractions. (shrink)
The article presents the sociology of knowledge approach to discourse (SKAD). SKAD, which has been in the process of development since the middle of the 1990s, is now a widely used framework among social scientists in discourse research in the German-speaking area. It links arguments from the social constructionist tradition, following Berger and Luckmann, with assumptions based in symbolic interactionism, hermeneutic sociology of knowledge, and the concepts of Michel Foucault. It argues thereby for a consistent theoretical and methodological grounding (...) of a genuine social sciences perspective on discourse interested in the social production, circulation and transformation of knowledge, that is in social relations and politics of knowledge in the so-called ‘knowledge societies’. Distancing itself from Critical Discourse Analysis, Linguistics, Ethnomethodology inspired discourse analysis and the Analysis of Hegemonies, following Laclau and Mouffe, SKAD’s framework has been built up around research questions and concerns located in the social sciences, referring to public discourse and arenas as well as to more specific fields of (scientific, religious, etc.) discursive struggles and controversies around problematizations (Foucault). (shrink)
During the last thirty years, most linguists and philosophers have assumed that meaning can be represented symbolically and that the mental processing of language involves the manipulation of symbols. Scholars have assembled strong evidence that there must be linguistic representations at several abstract levels--phonological, syntactic, and semantic--and that those representations are related by a describable system of rules. Because meaning is so complex, linguists often posit an equally complex relationship between semantic and other levels of grammar. The Semantics of Syntax (...) is an elegant and powerful analysis of the relationship between syntax and semantics. Noting that meaning is underdetermined by form even in simple cases, Denis Bouchard argues that it is impossible to build knowledge of the world into grammar and still have a describable grammar. He thus proposes simple semantic representations and simple rules to relate linguistic levels. Focusing on a class of French verbs, Bouchard shows how multiple senses can be accounted for by the assumption of a single abstract core meaning along with background information about how objects behave in the world. He demonstrates that this move simplifies the syntax at no cost to the descriptive power of the semantics. In two important final chapters, he examines the consequences of his approach for standard syntactic theories. (shrink)
This article reviews eight proposed strategies for solving the Symbol Grounding Problem (SGP), which was given its classic formulation in Harnad (1990). After a concise introduction, we provide an analysis of the requirement that must be satisfied by any hypothesis seeking to solve the SGP, the zero semantical commitment condition. We then use it to assess the eight strategies, which are organised into three main approaches: representationalism, semi-representationalism and non-representationalism. The conclusion is that all the strategies are semantically committed (...) and hence that none of them provides a valid solution to the SGP, which remains an open problem. (shrink)
In this paper, we develop a theoretical framework for understanding women leaders in working life. Our starting point is in statistics and earlier women-in-management literature, which show that women leaders represent a minority of the managerial population. We assume such underlying mechanisms causing discriminatory practices towards women leaders to exist which have become naturalized and invisible. Our concern is that everyone irrespective of gender should have a fair chance in career progression. This is both a moral and also an economic (...) challenge. The framework we develop in this paper is an alternative approach to studying women leaders compared to traditional women-in-management literature. It aims at revealing the "natural and taken-for-granted" cultural mechanisms behind discriminatory practices. Our framework is based on a critical discursive approach, which draws on ideas of how women''s leadership becomes symbolically represented and constructed in discursive practices. These symbolic constructions, which are mediated through language, often have an ideological loading which positions women leaders and builds their identities in ways that can help to legitimize unequal relations between the genders. However, our framework emphasizes the possibility of multiple discourses and a dynamic view of culture. The cultural constructions of women leaders are, thus, open to change. (shrink)
Scholars studying the origins and evolution of language are also interested in the general issue of the evolution of cognition. Language is not an isolated capability of the individual, but has intrinsic relationships with many other behavioral, cognitive, and social abilities. By understanding the mechanisms underlying the evolution of linguistic abilities, it is possible to understand the evolution of cognitive abilities. Cognitivism, one of the current approaches in psychology and cognitive science, proposes that symbol systems capture mental phenomena, and (...) attributes cognitive validity to them. Therefore, in the same way that language is considered the prototype of cognitive abilities, a symbol system has become the prototype for studying language and cognitive systems. Symbol systems are advantageous as they are easily studied through computer simulation (a computer program is a symbol system itself), and this is why language is often studied using computational models. (shrink)
The perceptual symbolapproach to knowledge representation combines structured frames and dynamic imagery. The perceptual symbolapproach provides a good account of the representation of scientific models, of some types of naive theories held by children and adults, and of certain reconstructive memory phenomena. The ontological status of perceptual symbols is unclear and this form of representation does not succeed in accounting for all forms of human knowledge.
Nelson Goodman and, following him, Catherine Z. Elgin and Keith Lehrer have claimed that sometimes a sample is a symbol that stands for the property it is a sample of. The relation between the sample and the property it stands for is called 'exemplification' (Goodman, Elgin) or 'exemplarisation' (Lehrer). Goodman and Lehrer argue that the notion of exemplification sheds light on central problems in aesthetics and the philosophy of mind. However, while there seems to be a phenomenon to be (...) captured, Goodman's account of exemplification has several flaws. In this paper I will offer an alternative account of exemplification that is inspired by Grice's idea that one can communicate something by providing one's audience with intention-independent evidence and letting them draw the obvious conclusion for themselves. This explication of exemplification will solve the problems that arose for Goodman's theory in the spirit of his approach.1. (shrink)
This paper explores an approach for autonomous generation of symbolic representations from an agent's subsymbolic activities within the agent-environment interaction. The paper describes a psychologically plausible general framework and its various methods for autonomously creating symbolic representations. The symbol generation is accomplished within, and is intrinsic to, a generic and comprehensive cognitive architecture for capturing a wide variety of psychological processes (namely, CLARION). This work points to ways of obtaining more psychologically/cognitively realistic symbolic and subsymbolic representations within the (...) framework of a cognitive architecture, and accentuates the relevance of such an approach to cognitive science and psychology. (shrink)
We investigate judgment aggregation by assuming that some formulas of the agenda are singled out as premisses, and the Independence condition (formula-wise aggregation) holds for them, though perhaps not for others. Whether premiss-based aggregation thus de…ned is non-degenerate depends on how premisses are logically connected, both among themselves and with other formulas. We identify necessary and su¢ cient conditions for dictatorship or oligarchy on the premisses, and investigate when these results extend to the whole agenda. Our theorems recover or strengthen (...) several existing ones and are formulated for in…nite populations, an innovation of this paper. JEL identi…cation numbers: D70, D71. (shrink)
This paper argues for an explanation of the mechanistic (computational) basis of consciousness that is based on the distinction between localist (symbolic) representation and distributed representation, the ideas of which have been put forth in the connectionist literature. A model is developed to substantiate and test this approach. The paper also explores the issue of the functional roles of consciousness, in relation to the proposed mechanistic explanation of consciousness. The model, embodying the representational difference, is able to account for (...) the functional role of consciousness, in the form of the synergy between the conscious and the unconscious. The fit between the model and various cognitive phenomena and data (documented in the psychological literatures) is discussed to accentuate the plausibility of the model and its explanation of consciousness. Comparisons with existing models of consciousness are made in the end. (shrink)
We argue that critiques of political process theory are beginning to coalesce into new approach to social movements--a "multi-institutional politics" approach. While the political process model assumes that domination is organized by and around one source of power, the alternative perspective views domination as organized around multiple sources of power, each of which is simultaneously material and symbolic. We examine the conceptions of social movements, politics, actors, goals, and strategies supported by each model, demonstrating that the view of (...) society and power underlying the political process model is too narrow to encompass the diversity of contemporary change efforts. Through empirical examples, we demonstrate that the alternative approach provides powerful analytical tools for the analysis of a wide variety of contemporary change efforts. (shrink)
1.1 The predominant approach to cognitive modeling is still what has come to be called "computationalism" (Dietrich 1990, Harnad 1990b), the hypothesis that cognition is computation. The more recent rival approach is "connectionism" (Hanson & Burr 1990, McClelland & Rumelhart 1986), the hypothesis that cognition is a dynamic pattern of connections and activations in a "neural net." Are computationalism and connectionism really deeply different from one another, and if so, should they compete for cognitive hegemony, or should they (...) collaborate? These questions will be addressed here, in the context of an obstacle that is faced by computationalism (as well as by connectionism if it is either computational or seeks cognitive hegemony on its own): The symbol grounding problem (Harnad 1990). (shrink)
We share with Anderson & Lebiere (A&L) (and with Newell before them) the goal of developing a domain-general framework for modeling cognition, and we take seriously the issue of evaluation criteria. We advocate a more focused approach than the one reflected in Newell's criteria, based on analysis of failures as well as successes of models brought into close contact with experimental data. A&L attribute the shortcomings of our parallel-distributed processing framework to a failure to acknowledge a symbolic level of (...) thought. Our framework does acknowledge a symbolic level, contrary to their claim. What we deny is that the symbolic level is the level at which the principles of cognitive processing should be formulated. Models cast at a symbolic level are sometimes useful as high-level approximations of the underlying mechanisms of thought. The adequacy of this approximation will continue to increase as symbolic modelers continue to incorporate principles of parallel distributed processing. (shrink)
A provisional model is presented in which categorical perception (CP) provides our basic or elementary categories. In acquiring a category we learn to label or identify positive and negative instances from a sample of confusable alternatives. Two kinds of internal representation are built up in this learning by "acquaintance": (1) an iconic representation that subserves our similarity judgments and (2) an analog/digital feature-filter that picks out the invariant information allowing us to categorize the instances correctly. This second, categorical representation is (...) associated with the category name. Category names then serve as the atomic symbols for a third representational system, the (3) symbolic representations that underlie language and that make it possible for us to learn by "description." Connectionism is one possible mechainsm for learning the sensory invariants underlying categorization and naming. Among the implications of the model are (a) the "cognitive identity of (current) indiscriminables": Categories and their representations can only be provisional and approximate, relative to the alternatives encountered to date, rather than "exact." There is also (b) no such thing as an absolute "feature," only those features that are invariant within a particular context of confusable alternatives. Contrary to prevailing "prototype" views, however, (c) such provisionally invariant features must underlie successful categorization, and must be "sufficient" (at least in the "satisficing" sense) to subserve reliable performance with all-or-none, bounded categories, as in CP. Finally, the model brings out some basic limitations of the "symbol-manipulative" approach to modeling cognition, showing how (d) symbol meanings must be functionally grounded in nonsymbolic, "shape-preserving" representations -- iconic and categorical ones. Otherwise, all symbol interpretations are ungrounded and indeterminate. This amounts to a principled call for a psychophysical (rather than a neural) "bottom-up" approach to cognition. (shrink)
Prior to the twentieth century, theories of knowledge were inherently perceptual. Since then, developments in logic, statis- tics, and programming languages have inspired amodal theories that rest on principles fundamentally different from those underlying perception. In addition, perceptual approaches have become widely viewed as untenable because they are assumed to implement record- ing systems, not conceptual systems. A perceptual theory of knowledge is developed here in the context of current cognitive science and neuroscience. During perceptual experience, association areas in the (...) brain capture bottom-up patterns of activation in sensory-motor areas. Later, in a top-down manner, association areas partially reactivate sensory-motor areas to implement perceptual symbols. The stor- age and reactivation of perceptual symbols operates at the level of perceptual components – not at the level of holistic perceptual expe- riences. Through the use of selective attention, schematic representations of perceptual components are extracted from experience and stored in memory (e.g., individual memories of green, purr, hot). As memories of the same component become organized around a com- mon frame, they implement a simulator that produces limitless simulations of the component (e.g., simulations of purr). Not only do such simulators develop for aspects of sensory experience, they also develop for aspects of proprioception (e.g., lift, run) and introspec- tion (e.g., compare, memory, happy, hungry). Once established, these simulators implement a basic conceptual system that represents types, supports categorization, and produces categorical inferences. These simulators further support productivity, propositions, and ab- stract concepts, thereby implementing a fully functional conceptual system. Productivity results from integrating simulators combinato- rially and recursively to produce complex simulations. Propositions result from binding simulators to perceived individuals to represent type-token relations. Abstract concepts are grounded in complex simulations of combined physical and introspective events. Thus, a per- ceptual theory of knowledge can implement a fully functional conceptual system while avoiding problems associated with amodal sym- bol systems. Implications for cognition, neuroscience, evolution, development, and artificial intelligence are explored. (shrink)
Can theories of mental imagery, conscious mental contents, developed within cognitive science throw light on the obscure (but culturally very significant) concept of imagination? Three extant views of mental imagery are considered: quasi-pictorial, description, and perceptual activity theories. The first two face serious theoretical and empirical difficulties. The third is (for historically contingent reasons) little known, theoretically underdeveloped, and empirically untried, but has real explanatory potential. It rejects the "traditional" symbolic computational view of mental contents, but is compatible with recent (...) *situated cognition* and *active vision* approaches in robotics. This theory is developed and elucidated. Three related key aspects of imagination (non-discursiveness, creativity, and *seeing as*) raise difficulties for the other theories. Perceptual activity theory presents imagery as non-discursive and relates it closely to *seeing as*. It is thus well placed to be the basis for a general theory of imagination and its role in creative thought. (shrink)
Cognitive science has always been dominated by the idea that cognition is _computational _in a rather strong and clear sense. Within the mainstream approach, cognitive agents are taken to be what are variously known as _physical symbol_ _systems, digital computers_, _syntactic engines_, or_ symbol manipulators_. Cognitive operations are taken to consist in the shuffling of symbol tokens according to strict rules (programs). Models of cognition are themselves digital computers, implemented on general purpose electronic machines. The basic mathematical (...) framework for understanding cognition is the theory of discrete computation, and the core theoretical tools for developing and understanding models of cognition are those of computer science. (shrink)
We describe a model-theoretic approach to ordinal analysis via the ﬁnite combinatorial notion of an α-large set of natural numbers. In contrast to syntactic approaches that use cut elimination, this approach involves constructing ﬁnite sets of numbers with combinatorial properties that, in nonstandard instances, give rise to models of the theory being analyzed. This method is applied to obtain ordinal analyses of a number of interesting subsystems of ﬁrst- and second-order arithmetic.
In the study of categories whose morphisms display a behaviour similar to that of partial functions, the concept of morphism domain is, obviously, central. In this paper an operation defined on morphisms describes those properties which are related to morphisms being regarded as abstractions of partial functions. This operation allows us to characterise the morphism domains directly, and gives rise to an algebra defined by a simple set of identities. No product-like categorical structures are needed therefore. We also develop the (...) construction of topologies together with the notion of continuous morphism, in order to test the effectiveness of this approach. It is interesting to see how much of the computational character of the morphisms is translated into continuity. (shrink)
A new reduction class is presented for the satisfiability problem for well-formed formulas of the first-order predicate calculus. The members of this class are closed prenex formulas of the form ∀ x∀ yC. The matrix C is in conjunctive normal form and has no disjuncts with more than three literals, in fact all but one conjunct is unary. Furthermore C contains but one predicate symbol, that being unary, and one function symbol which symbol is binary.
Conventional approaches to consciousness assume that our current science tells us within tolerable limits what physical nature is. Because nature so understood cannot explain consciousness as we seem to experience it ourselves, explaining consciousness becomes a problem. One solution is to rethink what consciousness is so that it becomes the sort of thing our current natural science could in principle explain. Whitehead takes the opposite approach, using the existence of consciousness as a clue to what nature must be if (...) it can generate something like consciousness. The justification for this approach can be found in Whitehead’s implicit indictment of descriptive phenomenology. According to Whitehead, the seemingly insoluble problem of explaining consciousness naturalistically is an artifact created by the assumption that consciousness faithfully samples the world, when in fact it obscures the very aspects of nature that are indispensable to understanding how anything, including consciousness itself, could emerge through a physical process. (shrink)
During the past 25 years, the capability approach, developed by Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum, has come to play a major role in political philosophy and normative economics. This approach has gained much support, among academics as well as among international agencies and nongovernmental organizations, at the expense of competing resourcist and welfarist approaches exemplified, respectively, by John Rawls’s theory and utilitarianism.
As medical technology advances and severely injured or ill people can be kept alive and functioning long beyond what was previously medically possible, the debate surrounding the ethics of end-of-life care and quality-of-life issues has grown more urgent. In this lucid and vigorous book, Craig Paterson discusses assisted suicide and euthanasia from a fully fledged but non-dogmatic secular natural law perspective. He rehabilitates and revitalises the natural law approach to moral reasoning by developing a pluralistic account of just why (...) we are required by practical rationality to respect and not violate key demands generated by the primary goods of persons, especially human life. Important issues that shape the moral quality of an action are explained and analysed: intention/foresight; action/omission; action/consequences; killing/letting die; innocence/non-innocence; person/non-person. Paterson defends the central normative proposition that ‘it is always a serious moral wrong to intentionally kill an innocent human person, whether self or another, notwithstanding any further appeal to consequences or motive’. (shrink)
David Lewis maintained that epistemological contextualism (on which the truth-conditions for utterances of “S knows p” change in different contexts depending on the salient “alternative possibilities”) could solve the problem of skepticism as well as the Gettier problem. Contextualist approaches to skepticism have become commonplace, if not orthodox, in epistemology. But not so for contextualist approaches to the Gettier problem: the standard approach to this has been to add an “anti-luck” condition to the analysis of knowledge.
In his ecological approach to perception, james gibson introduced the concept of affordance to refer to the perceived meaning of environmental objects and events. this paper examines the relational and causal character of affordances, as well as the grounds for extending affordances beyond environmental features with transcultural meaning to include those features with culturally-specific meaning. such an extension is seen as warranted once affordances are grounded in an intentional analysis of perception. toward this end, aspects of merleau-ponty's treatment of (...) perception are explored. finally, a resolution of the apparent tension between the relational and perceiver-independent nature of affordances is presented. (shrink)
This paper offers both a theoretical and an experimental perspective on the relationship between connectionist and Classical (symbol-processing) models. Firstly, a serious flaw in Fodor and Pylyshyn’s argument against connectionism is pointed out: if, in fact, a part of their argument is valid, then it establishes a conclusion quite different from that which they intend, a conclusion which is demonstrably false. The source of this flaw is traced to an underestimation of the differences between localist and distributed representation. It (...) has been claimed that distributed representations cannot support systematic operations, or that if they can, then they will be mere implementations of traditional ideas. This paper presents experimental evidence against this conclusion: distributed representations can be used to support direct structure-sensitive operations, in a man- ner quite unlike the Classical approach. Finally, it is argued that even if Fodor and Pylyshyn’s argument that connectionist models of compositionality must be mere implementations were correct, then this would still not be a serious argument against connectionism as a theory of mind. (shrink)
Abstract Truth-telling is a key issue within the nurse–patient relationship. Nurses make decisions on a daily basis regarding what information to tell patients. This paper analyses truth-telling within an end of life scenario. Virtue ethics provides a useful philosophical approach for exploring decisions on information disclosure in more detail. Virtue ethics allows appropriate examination of the moral character of the nurse involved, their intention, ability to use wisdom and judgement when making decisions and the virtue of truth-telling. It is (...) appropriate to discuss nursing as a 'practice' in relation to virtue ethics. This is achieved through consideration of the implications of arguments made by Alasdair MacIntyre who believes that qualities such as honesty, courage and justice are virtues because they enable us to achieve the internal goods of practices. (shrink)
What is the relation between the material, conventional symbol structures that we encounter in the spoken and written word, and human thought? A common assumption, that structures a wide variety of otherwise competing views, is that the way in which these material, conventional symbol-structures do their work is by being translated into some kind of content-matching inner code. One alternative to this view is the tempting but thoroughly elusive idea that we somehow think in some natural language (such (...) as English). In the present treatment I explore a third option, which I shall call the "complementarity" view of language. According to this third view the actual symbol structures of a given language add cognitive value by complementing (without being replicated by) the more basic modes of operation and representation endemic to the biological brain. The "cognitive bonus" that language brings is, on this model, not to be cashed out either via the ultimately mysterious notion of "thinking in a given natural language" or via some process of exhaustive translation into another inner code. Instead, we should try to think in terms of a kind of coordination dynamics in which the forms and structures of a language qua material symbol system play a key and irreducible role. Understanding language as a complementary cognitive resource is, I argue, an important part of the much larger project (sometimes glossed in terms of the "extended mind") of understanding human cognition as essentially and multiply hybrid: as involving a complex interplay between internal biological resources and external non-biological resources. (shrink)
Stakeholder theory has gained currency in the business and society literature in recent years in light␣of its practicality from the perspective of managers and scholars. In accounting for the recent ascendancy of␣stakeholder theory, this article presents an overview of␣two traditional conceptualizations of corporate social␣responsibility (CSR) (Carroll: 1979, ‹A Three-Dimensional Conceptual Model of Corporate Performance', The Academy of Management Review 4(4), 497–505 and Wood: 1991, ‹Corporate Social Performance Revisited', The Academy of Management Review 16(4), 691–717), highlighting their predominant inclination toward providing (...) static taxonomic CSR descriptions. The article then makes the case for a stakeholder approach to CSR, reviewing its rationale and outlining how it has␣been integrated into recent empirical studies. In light of this review, the article adopts a stakeholder framework – the Ethical Performance Scorecard (EPS) proposed by Spiller (2000, ‹Ethical Business and Investment: A Model For Business and Society', Journal of Business Ethics 27, 149–160) – to examine the CSR approach of a sample of␣Lebanese and Syrian firms with an interest in CSR␣and␣test relevant hypotheses derived from the CSR/stakeholder literature. The findings are analyzed and implications drawn regarding the usefulness of a stakeholder approach to CSR. (shrink)
I argue that existing views in the political equality debate are inadequate. I propose an alternative approach to equality and argue its superiority to the competing approaches. I apply the approach to some issues in global justice relating to global poverty and to the inability of some countries to develop as they would like. In this connection I discuss institutions of international trade, sovereign debt and global reserves and I focus particularly on the WTO, IMF and World Bank.
This paper discusses the viability of a virtue-based approach to bioethics. Virtue ethics is clearly appropriate to addressing issues of professional character and conduct. But another major remit of bioethics is to evaluate the ethics of biomedical procedures in order to recommend regulatory policy. How appropriate is the virtue ethics approach to fulfilling this remit? The first part of this paper characterizes the methodology problem in bioethics in terms of diversity, and shows that virtue ethics does not simply (...) restate this problem in its own terms. However, fatal objections to the way the virtue ethics approach is typically taken in bioethics literature are presented in the second section of the paper. In the third part, a virtue-based approach to bioethics that avoids the shortcomings of the typical one is introduced and shown to be prima facie plausible. The upshot is an inviting new direction for research into bioethics' methodology. (shrink)
Olson (1997a) tries to refute the Psychological Approach to personal identity with his Fetus Argument, and Mackie (1999) aims to do the same with the Death Argument. With the help of a suggestion made by Baker (1999), the following discussion shows that these arguments fail. In the process of defending the Psychological Approach, it is made clear exactly what one is and is not committed to as a proponent of the theory.
The Language of Thought program has a suicidal edge. Jerry Fodor, of all people, has argued that although LOT will likely succeed in explaining modular processes, it will fail to explain the central system, a subsystem in the brain in which information from the different sense modalities is integrated, conscious deliberation occurs, and behavior is planned. A fundamental characteristic of the central system is that it is “informationally unencapsulated” -- its operations can draw from information from any cognitive domain. The (...) domain general nature of the central system is key to human reasoning; our ability to connect apparently unrelated concepts enables the creativity and flexibility of human thought, as does our ability to integrate material across sensory divides. The central system is the holy grail of cognitive science: understanding higher cognitive function is crucial to grasping how humans reach their highest intellectual achievements. But according to Fodor, the founding father of the LOT program and the related Computational Theory of Mind (CTM), the holy grail is out of reach: the central system is likely to be non-computational (Fodor 1983, 2000, 2008). Cognitive scientists working on higher cognitive function should abandon their efforts. Research should be limited to the modules, which for Fodor rest at the sensory periphery (2000).1 Cognitive scientists who work in the symbol processing tradition outside of philosophy would reject this pessimism, but ironically, within philosophy itself, this pessimistic streak has been very influential, most likely because it comes from the most well-known proponent of LOT and CTM. Indeed, pessimism about centrality has become assimilated into the mainstream conception of LOT. (Herein, I refer to a LOT that appeals to pessimism about centrality as the “standard LOT”). I imagine this makes the standard LOT unattractive to those philosophers with a more optimistic approach to what cognitive science can achieve.. (shrink)
This article presents two different phenomenological paths leading from ego to alter ego: a Husserlian and a Merleau-Pontian way of thinking. These two phenomenological paths serve to disentangle the conceptual–philosophical underpinning of the mirror neurons system hypothesis, in which both ways of thinking are entwined. A Merleau-Pontian re-reading of the mirror neurons system theory is proposed, in which the characteristics of mirror neurons are effectively used in the explanation of action understanding and imitation. This proposal uncovers the remaining necessary presupposition (...) of a minimalized version of the Husserlian concept of pairing and its recent and improved version in terms of the intermodal system. This leads to a layered approach to the constitution of intersubjectivity. (shrink)
The Wide-Scope approach to instrumental reason holds that the requirement to intend the necessary means to your ends should be understood as a requirement to either intend the means, or else not intend the end. In this paper I explain and defend a neglected version of this approach. I argue that three serious objections to Wide-Scope accounts turn on a certain assumption about the nature of the reasons that ground the Wide-Scope requirement. The version of the Wide-Scope (...) class='Hi'>approach defended here allows us to reject this assumption, and so defuse the objections. (shrink)
This book addresses key topics in social theory such as the basic structures of social life, the character of human activity, and the nature of individuality. Drawing on the work of Wittgenstein, the author develops an account of social existence that argues that social practices are the fundamental phenomenon in social life. This approach offers new insight into the social formation of individuals, surpassing and critiquing the existing practice theories of Bourdieu, Giddens, Lyotard, and Oakeshott. In bringing Wittgenstein's work (...) to bear on issues of social theory the book shows the relevance of his work to a body of thought to which it has never been applied. The book will be of particular interest to philosophers of the social sciences, a wide range of social theorists in political science and sociology, as well as some literary theorists. (shrink)
This Husserlian transcendental-phenomenological investigation of interkinaesthetic affectivity first clarifies the sense of affectivity that is at stake here, then shows how Husserl’s distinctive approach to kinaesthetic experience provides evidential access to the interkinaesthetic field. After describing several structures of interkinaesthetic-affective experience, I indicate how a Husserlian critique of the presupposition that we are “psychophysical” entities might suggest a more inclusive approach to a biosocial plenum that includes all metabolic life.
The semantic, or model-theoretic, approach to theories has recently come under criticism on two fronts: (i) it is claimed that it cannot account for the wide diversity of models employed in scientific practice—a claim which has led some to propose a “deflationary” account of models; (ii) it is further contended that the sense of “model” used by the approach differs from that given in model theory. Our aim in the present work is to articulate a possible response to (...) these claims, drawing on recent developments within the semantic approach itself. Thus, the first is answered by utilizing the notion of a “partial structure”, first introduced in this context by da Costa and French in 1990. The second claim is undermined by consideration of van Fraassen's understanding of “model” which corresponds well with that evinced by modem mathematicians. This latter discussion, in particular, has an impact on the continuing debate regarding the relative merits of the semantic and syntactic views and the developments presented here can be taken to provide further support to the former. (shrink)
This paper defends the view that ontological questions (properly understood) are easy—too easy, in fact, to be subjects of substantive and distinctively philosophical debates. They are easy, roughly, in the sense that they may be resolved straightforwardly—generally by a combination of conceptual and empirical enquiries. After briefly outlining the view and some of its virtues, I turn to examine two central lines of objection. The first is that this ‘easy’ approach is itself committed to substantive ontological views, including an (...) implausibly permissive ontology. The second is that it, like neo-Fregean views, relies on transformation rules that are questionable on both logical and ontological grounds. Ultimately, I will argue, the easy view is not easily assailed by either of these routes, and so remains (thus far) a tenable and attractive approach. (shrink)
Many psychologists and philosophers believe that the close correlation between human language and human concepts makes the attribution of concepts to nonhuman animals highly questionable. I argue for a three-part approach to attributing concepts to animals. The approach goes beyond the usual discrimination tests by seeking evidence for self-monitoring of discrimination errors. Such evidence can be collected without relying on language and, I argue, the capacity for error-detection can only be explained by attributing a kind of internal representation (...) that is reasonably identified as a concept. Thus I hope to have shown that worries about the empirical intractability of concepts in languageless animals are misplaced. (shrink)
In this paper, I present a version of a sense-data approach to perception, which differs to a certain extent from well-known versions like the one put forward by Jackson. I compare the sense-data view to the currently most popular alternative theories of perception, the so-called Theory of Appearing (a very specific form of disjunctivist approaches) on the one hand and reductive representationalist approaches on the other. I defend the sense-data approach on the basis that it improves substantially on (...) those alternative theories. (shrink)
A complete collection of Frank Sibley's articles on philosophical aesthetics, this volume includes five, remarkable, hitherto unpublished papers written in Sibley's later years. It addresses many topics, among them the nature of aesthetic qualities versus non-aesthetic qualities, the relation of aesthetic description to aesthetic evaluation, the different levels of evaluation, and the objectivity of aesthetic judgement. The later papers constitute both a significant development of Sibley's individual approach to aesthetics, such as his discussion of the distinction between attributive and (...) predicative uses of adjectives and of the aesthetic significance of tastes and smells, a topic Sibley considered to be much neglected. (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)
Nursing ethics centres on how nurses ought to respond to the moral situations that arise in their professional contexts. Nursing ethicists invoke normative approaches from moral philosophy. Specifically, it is increasingly common for nursing ethicists to apply virtue ethics to moral problems encountered by nurses. The point of this article is to argue for scepticism about this approach. First, the research question is motivated by showing that requirements on nurses such as to be kind, do not suffice to establish (...) virtue ethics in nursing because normative rivals (such as utilitarians) can say as much; and the teleology distinctive of virtue ethics does not transpose to a professional context, such as nursing. Next, scepticism is argued for by responding to various attempts to secure a role for virtue ethics in nursing. The upshot is that virtue ethics is best left where it belongs – in personal moral life, not professional ethics – and nursing ethics is best done by taking other approaches. (shrink)
In this paper, a theoretical account of the functional role of consciousness in the cognitive system of normal subjects is developed. The account is based upon an approach to consciousness that is drawn from the phenomenological tradition. On this approach, consciousness is essentially peripheral self-awareness, in a sense to be duly explained. It will be argued that the functional role of consciousness, so construed, is to provide the subject with just enough information about her ongoing experience to make (...) it possible for her to easily obtain as much information as she may need. The argument for this account of consciousness' functional role will proceed in three main stages. First, the phenomenological approach to consciousness as peripheral self-awareness will be expounded and endorsed. Second, an account of the functional role of peripheral perceptual awareness will be offered. Finally, the account of the functional role of peripheral self-awareness will be obtained by straightforward extension from the functional role of peripheral perceptual awareness. (shrink)
There has been much discussion recently about the scope and limits of purely symbolic models of the mind and about the proper role of connectionism in cognitive modeling. This paper describes the symbol grounding problem: How can the semantic interpretation of a formal symbol system be made intrinsic to the system, rather than just parasitic on the meanings in our heads? How can the meanings of the meaningless symbol tokens, manipulated solely on the basis of their (arbitrary) (...) shapes, be grounded in anything but other meaningless symbols? The problem is analogous to trying to learn Chinese from a Chinese/Chinese dictionary alone. A candidate solution is sketched: Symbolic representations must be grounded bottom-up in nonsymbolic representations of two kinds: (1) iconic representations, which are analogs of the proximal sensory projections of distal objects and events, and (2) categorical representations, which are learned and innate feature-detectors that pick out the invariant features of object and event categories from their sensory projections. Elementary symbols are the names of these object and event categories, assigned on the basis of their (nonsymbolic) categorical representations. Higher-order (3) symbolic representations, grounded in these elementary symbols, consist of symbol strings describing category membership relations (e.g., An X is a Y that is Z). Connectionism is one natural candidate for the mechanism that learns the invariant features underlying categorical representations, thereby connecting names to the proximal projections of the distal objects they stand for. In this way connectionism can be seen as a complementary component in a hybrid nonsymbolic/symbolic model of the mind, rather than a rival to purely symbolic modeling. Such a hybrid model would not have an autonomous symbolic module, however; the symbolic functions would emerge as an intrinsically dedicated symbol system as a consequence of the bottom-up grounding of categories' names in their sensory representations. Symbol manipulation would be governed not just by the arbitrary shapes of the symbol tokens, but by the nonarbitrary shapes of the icons and category invariants in which they are grounded. (shrink)
My project in this paper is to extend the interventionist analysis of causation to give an account of causation in psychology. Many aspects of empirical investigation into psychological causation fit straightforwardly into the interventionist framework. I address three problems. First, the problem of explaining what it is for a causal relation to be properly psychological rather than merely biological. Second, the problem of rational causation: how it is that reasons can be causes. Finally, I look at the implications of an (...) interventionist analysis for the idea that an inquiry into psychological causes must be an inquiry into causal mechanisms. I begin by setting out the main ideas of the interventionist approach. (shrink)
Memetics is one possible evolutionary approach to the study of culture. Boyd and Richerson’s models (1985, Boyd this volume), or my epidemiology of representations (1985, 1996), are among other possible evolutionary approaches inspired in various ways by Darwin. Memetics however, is, by its very simplicity, particularly attractive.
This paper considers the question whether a psychological approach to personal identity can be formulated within an endurantist, as opposed to four-dimensionalist, framework. Trenton Merricks has argued that this cannot be done. I argue to the contrary: a perfectly coherent endurantist version of the psychological approach can indeed be formulated.
This pair of articles provides a critical commentary on contemporary approaches to statistical mechanical probabilities. These articles focus on the two ways of understanding these probabilities that have received the most attention in the recent literature: the epistemic indifference approach, and the Lewis-style regularity approach. These articles describe these approaches, highlight the main points of contention, and make some attempts to advance the discussion. The first of these articles provides a brief sketch of statistical mechanics, and discusses the (...) indifference approach to statistical mechanical probabilities. (shrink)
The enactive approach offers a distinctive view of how mental life relates to bodily activity at three levels: bodily self-regulation, sensorimotor coupling, and intersubjective in- teraction. This paper concentrates on the second level of sensorimotor coupling. An account is given of how the subjectively lived body and the living body of the organism are related (the body-body problem) via dynamic sensorimotor activity, and it is shown how this account helps to bridge the explanatory gap between consciousness and the brain. (...) Arguments by O'Regan, No¨e, and Myin that seek to account for the phenomenal character of perceptual consciousness in terms of 'bodiliness' and 'grabbiness' are considered. It is suggested that their account does not pay sufﬁcient attention to two other key aspects of perceptual phenomenality: the autonomous nature of the experiencing self or agent, and the pre-reﬂective nature of bodily self-consciousness. (shrink)
This paper outlines the main tenets of poststructuralism and considers how they are applied by practitioners of queer theory. Drawing on both Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida, queer theory explores the ways in which homosexual subjectivity is at once produced and excluded within culture, both inside and outside its borders. This approach is contrasted with more sociological studies of sexuality (labeling theory, social constructionism). Whereas queer theory investigates the relations between heterosexuality and homosexuality, sociologists tend to examine homosexual identities (...) and communities, paradoxically ignoring the social construction of heterosexuality. Poststructuralism can inform a sociological approach to sexuality by emphasizing the generative character of all sexual identities. A sociological study of sexuality which is informed by poststructuralism would examine the exclusions implicit in a heterosexual/homosexual opposition. In this process, bisexual and transgender identities can become viable cultural possibilities, and a broad-based political coalition established. Whereas mainstream sociology focuses on the ways in which homosexuals are outside social norms, and whereas queer theory exploits the ways in which this outside is already inside, this perspective suggests that a critical sexual politics seeks to move beyond an inside/outside model. (shrink)
Recently, Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum have developed the capabilities approach to provide a model for understanding the effectiveness of programs to help the developing nations. The approach holds that human beings are fundamentally free and have a sense of human dignity. Therefore, institutions need to help people enhance this dignity by providing them with the opportunity to develop their capabilities freely. I argue that this approach may help support business ethics based on virtue. Since teleology has (...) become problematic, virtue ethics has had difficulty giving itself an ultimate justification. By combining virtue ethics with the capabilities approach, it becomes possible to ground virtue ethics on the basis of the existence of human dignity. This frees virtue ethics of the need for a strict teleology, replacing it with the notion that people must work to develop the capabilities of others although those capabilities are not pointed toward a definite goal. I further suggest that by grounding virtue ethics in capabilities, the actions of a virtuous manager become clearer. Rather than simply charging a manager with serving the public, the manager is charged with serving the stakeholders in a way that develops their capabilities. For example, a manager should not just give their employees what is just but must give them the environment and the encouragement to grow and to find fulfillment in their job. (shrink)
Some beliefs seem more significant than others. This paper suggests an approach to explaining this apparent fact. As there are multiple senses in which one belief may be more significant than another, multiple possible sources of such significance, and, moreover, no prima facie reason to expect a single, unified account under which all these senses and sources can be subsumed, I propose the modest approach of articulating just one feature in virtue of which a belief may fairly be (...) called significant: that of bearing a certain relation to human flourishing, a relation that more trivial truths do not bear. From such modest projects can a complete solution to the problem (or, more accurately, problems) of significance emerge. (shrink)
Martha Nussbaum has expanded the capabilities approach to defend positive duties of justice to individuals who fall below Rawls’ standard for fully cooperating members of society, including sentient nonhuman animals. Building on this, David Schlosberg has defended the extension of capabilities justice not only to individual animals but also to entire species and ecosystems. This is an attractive vision: a happy marriage of social, environmental and ecological justice, which also respects the claims of individual animals. This paper asks whether (...) it is one that the capabilities approach can really deliver. Serious obstacles are highlighted. The potential for conflict between the capability-based entitlements of humans and those of nonhuman animals or ‘nature’ is noted, but it is argued that this does not constitute a decisive objection to the expanded capabilities approach. However, intra-nature conflicts are so widespread as to do so: the situation is outside the circumstances of justice as they are standardly understood. Schlosberg attempts to reconcile such conflicts by re-examining what it means to flourish as a sentient nonhuman animal. This fails, because of the distinction between flourishing as a species, which often requires predation, and flourishing as an individual, which is as frequently incompatible with it. Finally, the paper considers how a capabilities theorist might move beyond such conflicts, identifying two possible strategies (which are not themselves unproblematic) for reconciling the demands of humans, animals and ecosystems. (shrink)
This pair of articles provides a critical commentary on contemporary approaches to statistical mechanical probabilities. These articles focus on the two ways of understanding these probabilities that have received the most attention in the recent literature: the epistemic indifference approach, and the Lewis-style regularity approach. These articles describe these approaches, highlight the main points of contention, and make some attempts to advance the discussion. The second of these articles discusses the regularity approach to statistical mechanical probabilities, and (...) describes some areas where further research is needed. (shrink)
Representation is a central part of models in cognitive science, but recently this idea has come under attack. Researchers advocating perceptual symbol systems, situated action, embodied cognition, and dynamical systems have argued against central assumptions of the classical representational approach to mind. We review the core assumptions of the dominant view of representation and the four suggested alternatives. We argue that representation should remain a core part of cognitive science, but that the insights from these alternative approaches must (...) be incorporated into models of cognitive processing. (shrink)
In what follows I present an approach to the problem of consciousness, which I take to be suggested by Wittgenstein's remarks on sensation. As sketched here, this consists of a number of empirical hypotheses about the mind and how we represent it, and a series of arguments that these hypotheses explain phenomena which constitute the problem of consciousness, in such a way as to render them neither mysterious nor problematic.
According to the language of thought (LOT) approach and the related computational theory of mind (CTM), thinking is the processing of symbols in an inner mental language that is distinct from any public language. Herein, I explore a deep problem at the heart of the LOT/CTM program—it has yet to provide a plausible conception of a mental symbol.
This paper presents an approach to truth and the Liar paradox which combines elements of context dependence and hierarchy. This approach is developed formally, using the techniques of model theory in admissible sets. Special attention is paid to showing how starting with some ideas about context drawn from linguistics and philosophy of language, we can see the Liar sentence to be context dependent. Once this context dependence is properly understood, it is argued, a hierarchical structure emerges which is (...) neither ad hoc nor unnatural. (shrink)
Most ?theories of consciousness? are based on vague speculations about the properties of conscious experience. We aim to provide a more solid basis for a science of consciousness. We argue that a theory of consciousness should provide an account of the very processes that allow us to acquire and use information about our own mental states ? the processes underlying introspection. This can be achieved through the construction of information processing models that can account for ?Type-C? processes. Type-C processes can (...) be specified experimentally by identifying paradigms in which awareness of the stimulus is necessary for an intentional action. The Shallice (1988b) framework is put forward as providing an initial account of Type-C processes, which can relate perceptual consciousness to consciously performed actions. Further, we suggest that this framework may be refined through the investigation of the functions of prefrontal cortex. The formulation of our approach requires us to consider fundamental conceptual and methodological issues associated with consciousness. The most significant of these issues concerns the scientific use of introspective evidence. We outline and justify a conservative methodological approach to the use of introspective evidence, with attention to the difficulties historically associated with its use in psychology. (shrink)
Although the history of adopting the Western Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) concept in China spans less than 20 years, the core principles of CSR are not new and can be legitimately interpreted within traditional Chinese culture. We find that the Western CSR concepts do not adapt well to the Chinese market, because they have rarely defined the primary reason for CSR well, and the etic approach to CSR concepts does not take the Chinese reality and culture into consideration. This (...) article resolves these problems and contributes a new definition of CSR, called here – the Harmony Approach to CSR. Simply, the Chinese harmony approach to CSR means 'respecting nature and loving people'. It is the first time CSR has been defined in relation to Confucian interpersonal harmony and Taoist harmony between man and nature. Conceptually, this definition will broaden our understanding and will fit the characteristics of the Chinese market better. The idea of incorporating cultural contexts into CSR concepts could also contribute to future CSR studies. In business practice, it will help corporations to adopt CSR on their own initiative. The proposed virtues of traditional Chinese wisdom, in particular, will guide corporations to a new way of improving their CSR performance. (shrink)
A central question for assessing the merits of Amartya Sen's capability approach as a potential answer to the “distribution of what”? question concerns the exact role and nature of freedom in that approach. Sen holds that a person's capability identifies that person's effective freedom to achieve valuable states of beings and doings, or functionings, and that freedom so understood, rather than achieved functionings themselves, is the primary evaluative space. Sen's emphasis on freedom has been criticised by G. A. (...) Cohen, according to whom the capability approach either uses too expansive a definition of freedom or rests on an implausibly active, indeed “athletic,” view of well-being. This paper defends the capability approach from this criticism. It argues that we can view the capability approach to be underpinned by an account of well-being which takes the endorsement of valuable functionings as constitutive of well-being, and by a particular view of the way in which endorsement relates to force and choice. Footnotes1 I would like to thank Paul Bou-Habib, Ian Carter, Matthew Kramer, Ingrid Robeyns, Peter Vallentyne, and two Economics and Philosophy referees for very helpful comments on earlier drafts of this paper. I am also grateful to the participants of the Edinburgh ECPR Workshop, the Hoover Chair Seminar in Louvain-La-Neuve, the King's College Moral Philosophy Group in Cambridge, the Nuffield Political Theory Workshop in Oxford, and the session on the Capability Approach at the Philadelphia APSA Annual Conference. (shrink)
The number of people suffering from dementia will rise considerably in the years to come. This will have important implications for society. People suffering from dementia have to rely on relatives and professional caregivers when their disorder progresses. Some people want to determine for themselves their moment of death, if they should become demented. They think that the decline in personality caused by severe dementia is shocking and unacceptable. In this context, some people consider euthanasia as a way to avoid (...) total deterioration. In this article, we discuss some practical and ethical dilemmas regarding euthanasia in persons with severe dementia based on an advance euthanasia directive. We are using a personalist approach in dealing with these ethical dilemmas. (shrink)
The question of how to distinguish between science and non-science, the so-called 'demarcation problem', is one of the most high-profile, perennial, and intractable issues in the philosophy of science. It is not merely a philosophical issue, however, since it has a significant bearing on practical policy questions and practical decisions. This essay develops a pragmatic approach to the demarcation problem: it argues that while there are some core principles (or criteria) that we can use in distinguishing between (...) science and non-science, particular judgments and decisions about something's scientific status depend, in part, on practical goals and concerns. (shrink)
This essay considers methodological aspects ofcomputer ethics and argues for a multi-levelinterdisciplinary approach with a central role forwhat is called disclosive computer ethics. Disclosivecomputer ethics is concerned with the moraldeciphering of embedded values and norms in computersystems, applications and practices. In themethodology for computer ethics research proposed inthe essay, research takes place at three levels: thedisclosure level, in which ideally philosophers,computer scientists and social scientists collaborateto disclose embedded normativity in computer systemsand practices, the theoretical level, in whichphilosophers develop and (...) modify moral theory, and theapplication level, that draws from research performedat the other two levels, and at which normativeevaluations of computer systems and practices takesplace. (shrink)
In this paper, we start exploring the affective and ethical dimension of what De Jaegher and Di Paolo (Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 6:485–507, 2007 ) have called ‘participatory sense-making’. In the first part, we distinguish various ways in which we are, and feel, affectively inter-connected in interpersonal encounters. In the second part, we discuss the ethical character of this affective inter-connectedness, as well as the implications that taking an ‘inter-(en)active approach’ has for ethical theory itself.
: Recently, various suggestions have been made to respond to the increasingly great shortage of organs by paying for them. Because of the undesirable side effects of such approaches (commodification, injustice, and costs), a communitarian approach should be tried first. A communitarian approach to the problem of organ shortage entails changing the moral culture so that members of society will recognize that donating one's organs, once they are no longer of use to the donor, is the moral (right) (...) thing to do. This approach requires much greater and deeper efforts than sharing information and making public service announcements. It entails a moral dialogue, in which the public is engaged, leading to a change in what people expect from one another. Among the devices that could help to change the moral culture are a public statement, endorsed by community members and leaders, that expresses the community sense that donation "is what a good person does" and a community-specific web page that lists those who have made the commitment. A change in law so that a person's wishes in the matter are recognized as final and binding is also desired. This position paper deals only with cadaver organs and not living donors. (shrink)
"Symbol Grounding" is beginning to mean too many things to too many people. My own construal has always been simple: Cognition cannot be just computation, because computation is just the systematically interpretable manipulation of meaningless symbols, whereas the meanings of my thoughts don't depend on their interpretability or interpretation by someone else. On pain of infinite regress, then, symbol meanings must be grounded in something other than just their interpretability if they are to be candidates for what is (...) going on in our heads. Neural nets may be one way to ground the names of concrete objects and events in the capacity to categorize them (by learning the invariants in their sensorimotor projections). These grounded elementary symbols could then be combined into symbol strings expressing propositions about more abstract categories. Grounding does not equal meaning, however, and does not solve any philosophical problems. (shrink)
I outline a variant on the formalist approach to mathematics which rejects textbook formalism's highly counterintuitive denial that mathematical theorems express truths while still avoiding ontological commitment to a realm of abstract objects. The key idea is to distinguish the sense of a sentence from its explanatory truth conditions. I then look at various problems with the neo-formalist approach, in particular at the status of the notion of proof in a formal calculus and at problems which Gödelian results (...) seem to pose for the tight link assumed between truth and proof. (shrink)
The idea of a 'logic of quantum mechanics' or quantum logic was originally suggested by Birkhoff and von Neumann in their pioneering paper . Since that time there has been much argument about whether, or in what sense, quantum 'logic' can be actually considered a true logic (see, e.g. Bell and Hallett , Dummett , Gardner ) and, if so, how it is to be distinguished from classical logic. In this paper I put forward a simple and natural semantical framework (...) for quantum logic which reveals its difference from classical logic in a strikingly intuitive way, viz. through the fact that quantum logic admits (suitably formulated versions of) the characteristic quantum-mechanical notions of superposition and incompatibility of attributes. That is, precisely the features that distinguish quantum from classical physics also serve, within this framework, to distinguish quantum from classical logic. Some light is shed on the question of whether quantum logic is a genuine logical system by introducing a natural entailment relation for quantum-logical formulas with the implication symbol. The novelty is that, although implication behaves as it should (i.e. the 'deduction theorem' holds), the order of introduction of premises is significant. The fact that a reasonable entailment relation can be formulated for quantum logic supports the view that it is a genuine logical system and not merely an algebraic formalism. (shrink)
When can ever be justified in banning a religious practice? This paper focusses on Martha Nussbaum's capabilities approach. Certain religious practices create a clash between capabilities where the capability to religious belief and expression is in conflict with the capability of equal status and nondiscrimination. One example of such a clash is the case of polygamy. Nussbaum argues that there may be circumstances where polygamy may be acceptable. On the contrary, I argue that the capabilities approach cannot justify (...) polygamy in any circumstance. Her approach rules out polygamy, but may not rule out all non-monogamous relationships, such as polyamory. Finally, I conclude that the capabilities approach would benefit from a more robust understanding of recognition. (shrink)
Stakeholder theory is often unable to distinguish those individuals and groups that are stakeholders from those that are not. This problem of stakeholder identity has recently been addressed by linking stakeholder theory to a Rawlsian principle of fairness. To illustrate, the question of stakeholder status for the non-human environment is discussed. This essay criticizes a past attempt to ascribe stakeholder status to the non-human environment, which utilized a broad definition of the term "stakeholder." This paper then demonstrates how, despite the (...) denial of stakeholder status, the environment is nonetheless accounted for on a fairness-based approach through legitimate organizational stakeholders. In addition, since stakeholder theory has never claimed to be a comprehensive ethical scheme, it is argued that sound reasons might exist for managers to consider their organization's impact on the environment that are not stakeholder-related. (shrink)
This article explores the advantages of using a range of actual cases in doing political theory. This sort of approach clarifies what is at stake in alternative theoretical formulations, draws attention to the wisdom that may be embedded in existing practices, and encourages theorists to confront challenges they might otherwise overlook and to think through the implications of their accounts more fully.
One of the most significant political philosophers of the twentieth century, Carl Schmitt is a deeply controversial figure who has been labeled both Nazi sympathizer and modern-day Thomas Hobbes. First published in 1938, The Leviathan in the State Theory of Thomas Hobbes used the Enlightenment philosopher’s enduring symbol of the protective Leviathan to address the nature of modern statehood. A work that predicted the demise of the Third Reich and that still holds relevance in today’s security-obsessed society, this volume (...) will be essential reading for students and scholars of political science. “Carl Schmitt is surely the most controversial German political and legal philosopher of this century. . . . We deal with Schmitt, against all odds, because history stubbornly persists in proving many of his tenets right.”— Perspectives on Political Science “[A] significant contribution. . . . The relation between Hobbes and Schmitt is one of the most important questions surrounding Schmitt: it includes a distinct, though occasionally vacillating, personal identification as well as an association of ideas.”— Telos. (shrink)
Most accounts of veridical perception draw upon conventional causal theories of perception for an explanatory framework. Recently developed enactive or sensorimotor theories of perception pose a challenge to such accounts, necessitating a redefinition of veridical perception. I propose and defend one such definition, drawing upon empirical studies of perception, the resources of the enactive approach and phenomenology. I argue that perceptual experience engages an organism in a network of sensorimotor dependencies with the perceived object, and that veridical perceptions involve (...) experiential mastery of these dependencies. A thought example involving the phoneme restoration effect is used to compare this definition favourably with traditional accounts of veridical perception that involve the generation of matching content with appropriate causal history or patterns of counterfactual dependence. I also defend my account of veridical perception against several objections. (shrink)
This paper argues that an ecological approach to psychology of the sort advanced by J. J. Gibson provides a coherent and powerful alternative to the computational, information-processing, paradigm. The paper argues for two principles. Firstly, one cannot begin to understand what internal information processing an organism must accomplish until one understands what information is available to the organism in its environment. Secondly, an organism can process information by acting on or manipulating physical structures in its environment. An attempt is (...) made to show how these principles can be extended to cognition as a whole. It is suggested that these principles may have a foundation in evolutionary biology. (shrink)
The exclusion problem for mental causation is one of the most discussed puzzles in the mind-body literature. There has been a general agreement among philosophers, especially because most of them are committed to some form of physicalism, that the dualist cannot escape the exclusion problem. I argue that a proper understanding of dualism --its form, commitments, and intuitions?makes the exclusion problem irrelevant from a dualist perspective. The paper proposes a dualist approach, based on a theory of event causation, according (...) to which events are medium-grained, namely, parsed into mental and physical property components. A theory of contrastive mental causation is built upon this theory of events, for which the problem of exclusion does not arise. (shrink)
The posthumous publication, in 1763, of Thomas Bayes’ “Essay Towards Solving a Problem in the Doctrine of Chances” inaugurated a revolution in the understanding of the confirmation of scientific hypotheses—two hundred years later. Such a long period of neglect, followed by such a sweeping revival, ensured that it was the inhabitants of the latter half of the twentieth century above all who determined what it was to take a “Bayesian approach” to scientific reasoning.
Critics of reliability theories of epistemic justificationoften claim that the `generality problem' is an insurmountabledifficulty for such theories. The generality problem is theproblem of specifying the level of generality at which abelief-forming process is to be described for the purposeof assessing its reliability. This problem is not asintractable as it seems. There are illuminating solutionsto analogous problems in the ethics literature. Reliabilistsought to attend to utilitarian approaches to choices betweeninfinite utility streams; they also ought to attend towelfarist approaches to social (...) choice situations that donot demand full aggregation of individual welfares.These analogies suggest that the traditional `single number'approach to reliability is misguided. I argue that a newapproach – the `vector reliability' approach – is preferable.Vector reliability theories associate target beliefs withreliability vectors – that is, structured collections ofreliability numbers – and construct criteria of epistemicjustification that appeal to these vectors. The bulk of thetheoretical labor involved in a reliability account of epistemicjustification is thus transferred from picking a uniquereliability number to constructing a plausible criterionof epistemic justification. (shrink)