Recent empirical work suggests that emotions are responsible for anti-consequentialist intuitions. For instance, anger places value on actions of revenge and retribution, value not derived from the consequences of these actions. As a result, it contributes to the development of retributive intuitions. I argue that if anger evolved to produce these retributive intuitions because of their biological consequences, then these intuitions are not a good indicator that punishment has value apart from its consequences. This severs the evidential connection between retributive (...) intuitions and the retributive value of punishment. This argument may generalize to other deontological intuitions and theories. (shrink)
A traditional social scientific divide concerns the centrality of the interpretation of local understandings as opposed to attending to relatively general factors in understanding human individual and group differences. We consider one of the most common social scientific variables, race, and ask how to conceive of its causal power. We suggest that any plausible attempt to model the causal effects of such constructed social roles will involve close interplay between interpretationist and more general elements. Thus, we offer a case study (...) that one cannot offer a comprehensive model of the causal power of racial categories as social constructions without careful attention both to local meanings and more general mechanisms. (shrink)
There have been several recent attempts to think about psychological kinds as homologies. Nevertheless, there are serious epistemic challenges for individuating homologous psychological kinds, or cognitive homologies. Some of these challenges are revealed when we look at competing claims of cognitive homology. This paper considers two competing homology claims that compare human anger with putative aggression systems of nonhuman animals. The competition between these hypotheses has been difficult to resolve in part because of what I call the boundary problem: boundaries (...) between instances of psychological kinds (e.g., anger and fear) cannot be directly observed. Thus, there are distinctive difficulties for individuating psychological kinds across lineages. I draw four conclusions from this case study: First, recent evidence from the neuroscience of fear suggests that one of the proposed homologies involves a straightforward conflation of anger and fear. Second, this conflation arises because of the boundary problem. Third, there is an implicit constraint on the operational criteria that is easy to overlook in the psychological case. In this case, ignoring the constraint is part of the problem. Fourth, this is a clear case in which knowledge of homology cannot be accumulated piecemeal. Identifying homologs of human anger requires identifying homologs of fear. (shrink)
We should disassociate ourselves from wrongdoing. If Hobby Lobby is against LGBTQ rights, we shouldn’t shop there. If Old Navy sources their clothing from sweatshops, we shouldn’t buy them. If animals are treated terribly in factory farms, we shouldn’t eat the meat, eggs, and dairy products that come from them. Let’s call these disassociation intuitions. What explains the existence and force of disassociation intuitions? And based on that explanation, are they intuitions worth taking seriously? In other words, depending on the (...) etiology of these intuitions, should we accept that you ought to dissociate yourself from wrongdoing? Our aim here is to outline a hypothesis that would, if true, answer the first question, and which suggests a way to vindicate some disassociation intuitions as morally correct. (shrink)
Recent accounts of emotional action intend to explain such actions without reference to goals. Nevertheless, these accounts fail to specify the difference between goals and other kinds of motivational states. I offer two remedies. First, I develop an account of goals based on Michael Smith’s arguments for the Humean theory of motivation. On this account, a goal is a unified representation that determines behavior selection criteria and satisfaction conditions for an action. This opens the possibility that mental processes could influence (...) behavior without such a unified representation and hence, without goals. Second, I develop a model of emotions and appetites on which behavior selection criteria can be decoupled from satisfaction conditions. If this model is correct, then in many cases, there is no unified representation that determines the behavior selection criteria and satisfaction conditions of emotional actions. In contrast with many traditional accounts of action, the model suggests the following: Whether or not a behavior constitutes an action does not depend on the agent’s grasp of the behavior’s aim. Rather, a behavior constitutes an action if it was organized by the agent, where an agent can organize actions without a coherent grasp of their aim. Some emotional actions are manifestations of this possibility. (shrink)
While there is ongoing debate about the existence of basic emotions and about their status as natural kinds, these debates usually carry on under the assumption that BEs are encapsulated from cognition and that this is one of the criteria that separates the products of evolution from the products of culture and experience. I aim to show that this assumption is entirely unwarranted, that there is empirical evidence against it, and that evolutionary theory itself should not lead us to expect (...) that cognitive encapsulation marks the distinction between basic and higher cognitive emotions. Finally, I draw out the implications of these claims for debates about the existence of basic emotions in humans. (shrink)
I extend Stanford’s proposal in two ways by focusing on a possible mechanism of externalization: disgust. First, I argue that externalization also has value for solving coordination problems where interests of different groups coincide. Second, Stanford’s proposal also holds promise for explaining why people “over-comply” with norms through disassociation, or the avoidance of actions that merely appear to violate norms.
While the homology concept has taken on importance in thinking about the nature of psychological kinds, no one has shown how comparative psychological and behavioral evidence can distinguish between competing homology claims. I adapt the operational criteria of homology to accomplish this. I consider two competing homology claims that compare human anger with putative aggression systems of nonhuman animals, and demonstrate the effectiveness of these criteria in adjudicating between these claims.
I argue that the evolutionary history of anger has substantive implications for normative ethics. In the process, I develop an evolutionary account of anger and its influence on action. First, I consider a prominent argument by Peter Singer and Joshua Greene. They conclude that evolutionary explanations of human cooperation debunk – or undercut the evidential value of – the moral intuitions supporting duty ethics (as opposed to utilitarian or consequentialist ethics). With this argument they aim to defend consequentialist theories. However, (...) their argument also threatens to debunk intuitions that support consequentialist theories. I give a novel argument that overcomes this difficulty. Specifically, I offer an evolutionary story about anger that can explain retributive, duty-oriented intuitions concerning punishment. This explanation debunks these intuitions (and not others) by showing that they were selected for their biological consequences rather than their accuracy (concerning duties to punish). I develop this explanation by raising and resolving three additional problems. First, prominent evolutionary explanations of retributive motives fail because they appeal to models that apply only to organisms with strategic insight. To mitigate this problem, I explain the existence of a retributive-like motive in rodents by appealing to an economic model of resource competition, which applies to organisms without strategic insight. Second, I show that human anger was shaped by resource competition of this kind. To do so, I develop evidential criteria to determine when psychological systems in different species share common evolutionary origins. I deploy these criteria to argue that human anger and the retributive motive in rodents derive from the same ancestral trait. Finally, the continuity of anger across human and nonhuman animals stands in tension with the idea that anger causes purposive behavior like retribution or retaliation. I argue that differences between the angry behaviors of human and nonhuman animals are differences in degree and not in kind. In the end, this evolutionary story both explains and undermines retributive intuitions, but not in the straightforward way that Singer and Greene suppose. (shrink)
Marx and Engels's _Communist Manifesto_ has become one of the world’s most influential political tracts since its original 1848 publication. Part of the Rethinking the Western Tradition series, this edition of the _Manifesto_ features an extensive introduction by Jeffrey C. Isaac, and essays by Vladimir Tismaneanu, Steven Lukes, Saskia Sassen, and Stephen Eric Bronner, each well known for their writing on questions central to the _Manifesto_ and the history of Marxism. These essays address the _Manifesto_'s historical background, its impact (...) on the development of twentieth-century Communism, its strengths and weaknesses as a form of ethical critique, and its relevance in the post-1989, post-Cold War world. This edition also includes much ancillary material, including the many Prefaces published in the lifetimes of Marx and Engels, and Engels's "Principles of Communism.". (shrink)
Early psychophysical methods as codified by Fechner motivate the development of quantitative theories of subjective experience. The basic insight is that just noticeable differences between experiences can serve as units for measuring a sensory domain. However, the methods described by Fechner tacitly assume that the experiences being investigated can be linearly ordered. This assumption is not true for all sensory domains; for example, there is no trivial linear order over all possible color sensations. This paper discusses key developments in the (...) history of psychophysical methods for measuring color experience. In particular, a clear distinction between topological and metrical structure allowed Helmholtz to use opponent colors as a standard for measuring the gross structure of color space. Once this gross structure had been determined, lines through color space could be defined and Fechner-style methods employed for determining local structure. Extensions of these methods due to Wright, MacAdam, and others provide detailed evidence for the degree of agreement in the qualities of color experience across individuals. This allows a precise statement of the evidential support for the claim that your experience of color and mine are the same. (shrink)
Paul Churchland has recently offered a novel argument for the “objective reality” of color. The strategy he employs to make this argument is an instance of a more general research program for interpreting perceptual content, “domain‐portrayal semantics.” In the first half of the article, I point out some features of color vision that complicate Churchland's conclusion, in particular, the context‐sensitive and inferential nature of color perception. In the second half, I examine and defend the general research program, concluding it is (...) naturalistic in a minimal sense and should be of interest to naturalists and nonnaturalists alike. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305; e‐mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. (shrink)
A hippocampal patient is described who shows preserved item recognition and simple recognition-based recollection but impaired recall and associative recognition. These data and other evidence suggest that contrary to Aggleton & Brown's target article, Papez circuit damage impairs only complex item-item-context recollection. A patient with perirhinal cortex damage and a delayed global memory deficit, apparently inconsistent with A&B's framework, is also described.
This paper surveys applications of logical methods in the cognitive sciences. Special attention is paid to non-monotonic logics and complexity theory. We argue that these particular tools have been useful in clarifying the debate between symbolic and connectionist models of cognition.
Diachronic uncertainty, uncertainty about where an agent falls in time, poses interesting conceptual difficulties. Although the agent is uncertain about where she falls in time, this uncertainty can only obtain at a particular moment in time. We resolve this conceptual tension by providing a transformation from models with diachronic uncertainty relations into “equivalent” models with only synchronic uncertainty relations. The former are interpreted as capturing the causal structure of a situation, while the latter are interpreted as capturing its epistemic structure. (...) The models are equivalent in the sense that agents pass through the same information sets in the same order, In this paper, we investigate how such a transformation may be used to define an appropriate notion of equivalence, which we call epistemic equivalence. Although our project is motivated by problems which have arisen in a variety of disciplines, especially philosophy and game theory, our formal development takes place within the general and flexible framework provided by epistemic temporal logic. (shrink)
According to John Macmurray, action is the starting-point for an analysis of persons, who exist only in relation. This paper re-examines Macmurray’s argument from action and finds it lacking. However, rather than implying an obstacle to a relational definition of persons, the failure to arrive at this definition provides the opening or space wherein God, who is fully relational, can be revealed. The implications for human persons are mirrored in the dual concept of the person found in a social trinitarianism, (...) which lends support to an unexpected affirmation. Persons are found within community, but only by granting priority to the individual does this relational unity, which is the unity of the person, spring to life. (shrink)
God demands that Abraham sacrifice his son Isaac. Why? Kierkegaard tells us that God requires of Abraham a "teleological suspension of the ethical." In this essay I explore the meanings of the Ethical, God, and Faith in an effort to make sense of this phrase, and, more broadly, of the biblical story itself.
Isaac Newton is best known as a mathematician and physicist. He invented the calculus, discovered universal gravitation and made significant advances in theoretical and experimental optics. His master-work on gravitation, the Principia, is often hailed as the crowning achievement of the scientific revolution. His significance for philosophers, however, extends beyond the philosophical implications of his scientific discoveries. Newton was an able and subtle philosopher, working at a time when science was not yet recognized as an activity distinct from philosophy. (...) He engaged with the work of Rene Descartes and G.W. Leibniz, and showed sensitivity to the work of John Locke, Francis Bacon, Pierre Gassendi and Henry More, to name just a few. In his time, Newton was not perceived as a scientific outsider, but as an active and knowledgeable participant in philosophical debates.... (shrink)
_ Source: _Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 254 - 277 In his writings, Rabbi Isaac Hutner integrated various insights from secular philosophy and particularly from existentialist thought. Concerns regarding temporality, authenticity, and death permeate his thought. This article deals with what we call “being-towards-eternity,” a modification of Martin Heidegger’s “being-towards-death,” through which Hutner seeks to reconcile genuine anxiety in the face of finitude with an unwavering belief in resurrection and life after death. Hutner’s appropriation and adaptation of this Heideggerian (...) notion demonstrates how he adopted secular ideas while cautiously remaining within the boundaries of traditional Jewish concerns and vocabulary. (shrink)
The aim of this work is to evaluate the role played by Alfonso Luis Herrera and Isaac Ochoterena in the institutionalization of academic biology in Mexico in the early 20th century. As biology became institutionalized in Mexico, Herrera's basic approach to biology was displaced by Isaac Ochoterena's professional goals due to the prevailing political conditions at the end of 1929. The conflict arose from two different conceptions of biology, because Herrera and Ochoterena had different discourses that were incommensurable, (...) not only linguistically speaking, but also socioprofessionally. They had different links to influential groups related to education, having distinct political and socioprofessional interests. The conflict between Herrrera and Ochoterena determined the way in which professional biology education has developed in Mexico, as well as the advancement in specific research subjects and the neglect of others. (shrink)
This book is an investigation into authenticity, certainty, and self-hood as they arise in the story of the binding of Isaac. Gellman provides a new interpretation of Kierkegaard with select Hasidic commentary. Contents: INTRODUCTION: Background to the Book; Hasidism and Existentialism; Preview of the Chapters; THE FEAR AND THE TREMBLING: Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling; The Problem of Hearing and the Problem of Choice; The 'Ethical' for Kierkegaard; The 'Voice of God' for Kierkegaard; The Resolution of the Problems; THE UNCERTAINTY: (...) Mordecai Joseph Leiner of Izbica; Maimonides, Saadia, and Gersonides; The Existentialist Interpretation; The Theological Interpretation; SINNING FOR GOD: The Teleological Suspension of the Ethical; Averah Lishmah-Mordecai Joseph Leiner of Izbica and Zadok Hakohen of Lublin; Divine Determinism; Repentance from Fear and from Love; Averah Lishmah and the Teleological Suspension of the Ethical; THE DOUBLE-MINDEDNESS: Abraham's Prophetic Utterance; Heavy and Light Double Mindedness; The Fire-Elimelech of Lyzhansk; Judah Aryeh Leib of Gur; Abraham's Double-Mindedness; THE PASSION: Abraham Issac Kook; Hegel and Kierkegaard on Religion and Philosophy; Abraham and Idolatry; The Akedah According to Rav Kook; God's Mercy; Rav Kook and Kierkegaard on the Self; Index. (shrink)
The paper aims at a perspicuous representation of Isaac Levi's pragmatist epistemology, spanning from the 1967 classic "Gambling with Truth" to his 2004 book on "Mild Contraction". Based on a formal framework for Levi's notion of inquiry, I analyse his decision-theoretic approach with truth and information as basic cognitive values, and with Shackle measures as emerging structures. Both cognitive values figure prominently in Levi's model of inductive belief expansion, but only the value of information is employed in his model (...) of belief contraction. I argue that the former model is more successful than the latter. (shrink)
This paper compares the epistemological conception of Isaac Levi with mine. We are joined in both giving a constructive answer to the relation of belief and probability, without reducing one to the other. However, our constructions differ in at least nine more or less important ways, all discussed in the paper. In particular, the paper explains the similarities and differences of Shackle's functions of potential surprise, as used by Levi, and my ranking functions in formal as well as in (...) philosophical respects. The appendix explains how ranking and probability theory can be combined in the notion of a ranked probability measure (or probabilified ranking function). (shrink)