Sarah Moss argues that in addition to full beliefs, credences can constitute knowledge. She introduces the notion of probabilistic content and shows how it plays a central role not only in epistemology, but in the philosophy of mind and language. Just you can believe and assert propositions, you can believe and assert probabilistic contents.
The Archival and Constructive views of memory offer contrasting characterizations of remembering and its relation to memory errors. I evaluate the descriptive adequacy of each by offering a close analysis of one of the most prominent experimental techniques by which memory errors are elicited—the Deese-Roediger-McDermott paradigm. Explaining the DRM effect requires appreciating it as a distinct form of memory error, which I refer to as misremembering. Misremembering is a memory error that relies on successful retention of the targeted event. It (...) differs from both successful remembering and from confabulation errors, where the representation produced is wholly inaccurate. As I show, neither the Archival nor the Constructive View can account for the DRM effect because they are insensitive to misremembering’s unique explanatory demands. Fortunately, the explanatory limitations of the Archival and Constructive Views are complementary. This suggests a way.. (shrink)
Words change meaning over time. Some meaning shift is accompanied by a corresponding change in subject matter; some meaning shift is not. In this paper I argue that an account of linguistic meaning can accommodate the first kind of case, but that a theory of concepts is required to accommodate the second. Where there is stability of subject matter through linguistic change, it is concepts that provide the stability. The stability provided by concepts allows for genuine disagreement and ameliorative change (...) in the context of conceptual engineering. (shrink)
According to the Causal Theory of Memory, remembering a particular past event requires a causal connection between that event and its subsequent representation in memory, specifically, a connection sustained by a memory trace. The CTM is the default view of memory in contemporary philosophy, but debates persist over what the involved memory traces must be like. Martin and Deutscher argued that the CTM required memory traces to be structural analogues of past events. Bernecker and Michaelian, contemporary CTM proponents, reject structural (...) analogues in favor of memory traces as distributed patterns of event features. The proposals are understood as distinct accounts of how memory traces represent past events. But there are two distinct questions one could ask about a trace’s representational features. One might ask how memory traces, qua mental representations, have their semantic properties. Or, what makes memory traces, qua mental representations of memories, distinct from other mental representations. Proponents of the CTM, both past and present, have failed to keep these two questions distinct. The result is a serious but unnoticed problem for the CTM in its current form. Distributed memory traces are incompatible with the CTM. Such traces do not provide a way to track the causal history of individual memories, as the CTM requires. If memory traces are distributed patterns of event features, as Bernecker and Michaelian each claim, then the CTM cannot be right. (shrink)
In this incisive study Sarah Broadie gives an argued account of the main topics of Aristotle's ethics: eudaimonia, virtue, voluntary agency, practical reason, akrasia, pleasure, and the ethical status of theoria. She explores the sense of "eudaimonia," probes Aristotle's division of the soul and its virtues, and traces the ambiguities in "voluntary." Fresh light is shed on his comparison of practical wisdom with other kinds of knowledge, and a realistic account is developed of Aristototelian deliberation. The concept of pleasure (...) as value-judgment is expounded, and the problem of akrasia is argued to be less of a problem to Aristotle than to his modern interpreters. Showing that the theoretic ideal of Nicomachean Ethics X is in step with the earlier emphasis on practice, as well as with the doctrine of the Eudemian Ethics, this work makes a major contribution towards the understanding of Aristotle's ethics. (shrink)
Conceptual engineering is to be explained by appeal to the externalist distinction between concepts and conceptions. If concepts are determined by non-conceptual relations to objective properties rather than by associated conceptions (whether individual or communal), then topic preservation through semantic change will be possible. The requisite level of objectivity is guaranteed by the possibility of collective error and does not depend on a stronger level of objectivity, such as mind-independence or independence from linguistic or social practice more generally. This means (...) that the requisite level of objectivity is exhibited not only by natural kinds, but also by a wide range of philosophical kinds, social kinds and artefactual kinds. The alternative externalist accounts of conceptual engineering offered by Herman Cappelen and Derek Ball fall back into a kind of descriptivism which is antithetical to externalism and fails to recognise this basic level of objectivity. (shrink)
In a volume devoted to philosophy, religion and the spiritual life, I would like to focus the later part of my essay on a comparison of two Christian spiritual writings of the fourteenth century, the anonymous Cloud of Unknowing in the West, and the Triads of Gregory Palamas in the Byzantine East. Their examples, for reasons which I shall explain, seem to me rich with implications for some of our current philosophical and theological aporias on the nature of the self. (...) Let me explain my thesis in skeletal form at the outset, for it is a complex one, and has several facets. (shrink)
This paper provides an externalist account of talk and thought that clearly distinguishes the two. It is argued that linguistic meanings and concepts track different phenomena and have different explanatory roles. The distinction, understood along the lines proposed, brings theoretical gains in a cluster of related areas. It provides an account of meaning change which accommodates the phenomenon of contested meanings and the possibility of substantive disagreement across theoretical divides, and it explains the nature and value of conceptual engineering in (...) a way that addresses recent prominent concerns. (shrink)
This article provides a history of private sector tracking technologies, examining how the advent of commercial surveillance centered around a logic of data capitalism. Data capitalism is a system in which the commoditization of our data enables an asymmetric redistribution of power that is weighted toward the actors who have access and the capability to make sense of information. It is enacted through capitalism and justified by the association of networked technologies with the political and social benefits of online community, (...) drawing upon narratives that foreground the social and political benefits of networked technologies. I examine its origins in the wake of the dotcom bubble, when technology makers sought to develop a new business model to support online commerce. By leveraging user data for advertising purposes, they contributed to an information environment in which every action leaves behind traces collected by companies for commercial purposes. Through analysis of primary source materials produced by technology makers, journalists, and business analysts, I examine the emergence of data capitalism between the mid-1990s and mid-2000s and its central role in the contemporary information economy. (shrink)
Since Mill's seminal work On Liberty, philosophers and political theorists have accepted that we should respect the decisions of individual agents when those decisions affect no one other than themselves. Indeed, to respect autonomy is often understood to be the chief way to bear witness to the intrinsic value of persons. In this book, Sarah Conly rejects the idea of autonomy as inviolable. Drawing on sources from behavioural economics and social psychology, she argues that we are so often irrational (...) in making our decisions that our autonomous choices often undercut the achievement of our own goals. Thus in many cases it would advance our goals more effectively if government were to prevent us from acting in accordance with our decisions. Her argument challenges widely held views of moral agency, democratic values and the public/private distinction, and will interest readers in ethics, political philosophy, political theory and philosophy of law. (shrink)
Confabulation is a symptom central to many psychiatric diagnoses and can be severely debilitating to those who exhibit the symptom. Theorists, scientists, and clinicians have an understandable interest in the nature of confabulation—pursuing ways to define, identify, treat, and perhaps even prevent this memory disorder. Appeals to confabulation as a clinical symptom rely on an account of memory’s function from which cases like the above can be contrasted. Accounting for confabulation is thus an important desideratum for any candidate theory of (...) memory. Many contemporary memory theorists now endorse Constructivism, where memory is understood as a capacity for constructing plausible representations of past events. Constructivism’s aim is to account for and normalize the prevalence of memory errors in everyday life. Errors are plausible constructions that, on a particular occasion have led to error. They are not, however, evidence of malfunction in the memory system. While Constructivism offers an uplifting repackaging of the memory errors to which we are all susceptible, it has troubling implications for appeals to confabulation in psychiatric diagnosis. By accommodating memory errors within our understanding of memory’s function, Constructivism runs the risk of being unable to explain how confabulation errors are evidence of malfunction. After reviewing the literature on confabulation and Constructivism, respectively, I identify the tension between them and explore how different versions of Constructivism may respond. The paper concludes with a proposal for distinguishing between kinds of false memory—specifically, between misremembering and confabulation—that may provide a route to their reconciliation. (shrink)
Juhani Yli-Vakkuri has argued that the Twin Earth thought experiments offered in favour of semantic externalism can be replaced by a straightforward deductive argument from premisses widely accepted by both internalists and externalists alike. The deductive argument depends, however, on premisses that, on standard formulations of internalism, cannot be satisfied by a single belief simultaneously. It does not therefore, constitute a proof of externalism. The aim of this article is to explain why.
This is a contribution to the symposium on Herman Cappelen’s book Fixing Language. Cappelen proposes a metasemantic framework—the “Austerity Framework”—within which to understand the general phenomenon of conceptual engineering. The proposed framework is austere in the sense that it makes no reference to concepts. Conceptual engineering is then given a “worldly” construal according to which conceptual engineering is a process that operates on the world. I argue, contra Cappelen, that an adequate theory of conceptual engineering must make reference to concepts. (...) This is because concepts are required to account for topic continuity, a phenomenon which lies at the heart of projects in conceptual engineering. I argue that Cappelen’s own account of topic continuity is inadequate as a result of the austerity of his metasemantic framework, and that his worldly construal of conceptual engineering is untenable. (shrink)
As a number of high profile companies have found to their cost, corporate reputations can be significantly affected by firms' management of sustainability issue, including those that are outside their direct control, such as the environmental and social impacts of their supply networks. This paper begins by examining the relationship between corporate social responsibility, reputation, and supply network conditions. It then looks at the effectiveness of one tool for managing supply network sustainability issues, ethical sourcing codes of conduct, by examining (...) how the characteristics of three supply networks branded clothes, DIY wood products and branded confectionary affects the implementation ethical sourcing codes of conduct. It ends by setting out conclusions on why implementation of such codes has been so much more successful in some sectors than others and recommendations on effective approaches to managing sustainability issues in supply networks. (shrink)
Generic generalizations such as ‘mosquitoes carry the West Nile virus’ or ‘sharks attack bathers’ are often accepted by speakers despite the fact that very few members of the kinds in question have the predicated property. Previous work suggests that such low-prevalence generalizations may be accepted when the properties in question are dangerous, harmful, or appalling. This paper argues that the study of such generic generalizations sheds light on a particular class of prejudiced social beliefs, and points to new ways in (...) which those beliefs might be undermined and combatted. (shrink)
We have been teaching gender issues and feminist theory for many years, and we know that there is certainly a diversity of views among women, and men, about what counts as feminist or as good for women. Some may see a competent woman running for V.P as inevitably a step forward for women's equality. But consider this.
In a series of recent articles, Robin Jeshion has developed a theory of singular thought which she calls ‘cognitivism’. According to Jeshion, cognitivism offers a middle path between acquaintance theories—which she takes to impose too strong a requirement on singular thought, and semantic instrumentalism—which she takes to impose too weak a requirement. In this article, I raise a series of concerns about Jeshion's theory, and suggest that the relevant data can be accommodated by a version of acquaintance theory that distinguishes (...) unsuccessful thoughts of singular form from successful singular thoughts, and in addition allows for ‘trace-based’ acquaintance. (shrink)
Clinical use of the term “confabulation” began as a reference to false memories in dementia patients. The term has remained in circulation since, which belies shifts in its definition and scope over time. “Confabulation” now describes a range of disorders, deficits, and anomalous behaviors. The increasingly wide and varied use of this term has prompted many to ask: what is confabulation? In recent years, many have offered answers to this question. As a general rule, recent accounts are accounts of broad (...) confabulation: attempts to unify the seemingly disparate features of all or most confabulatory phenomena under a shared set of characteristics or mechanisms. In this paper, I approach the question differently. I focus on a particular form of confabulation—mnemonic confabulation—so as to understand its distinctive features and the ways in which it does fit into accounts of broad confabulation. Understanding mnemonic confabulation is a project in the philosophy of memory; it plays an important role in guiding theories of remembering, as a form of error that must be distinguished from genuine remembering. Mnemonic confabulation, as I define it in Sect. 2, occurs when there is no relation between a person’s seeming to remember a particular event or experience and any event or experience from their past—either because there is no such event in their past or because any similarity to such an event is entirely coincidental. This account draws on my own theory of remembering, but shares many important points of consensus with other accounts of mnemonic confabulation, which I highlight in Sect. 3. In Sect. 4, I turn to accounts of broad confabulation—identifying three features such accounts have in common—and, for each, I argue that mnemonic confabulation lacks the requisite feature. As an error, mnemonic confabulation has more in common with perceptual hallucination than with the confabulatory phenomena included in standard accounts of broad confabulation. Recognizing that, despite the shared use of the term “confabulation” mnemonic confabulation and broad forms of confabulation are unrelated, is important for continued progress in debates about each. (shrink)
In this paper, I draw on a recent account of perceptual knowledge according to which knowledge is contrastive. I extend the contrastive account of perceptual knowledge to yield a contrastive account of self-knowledge. Along the way, I develop a contrastive account of the propositional attitudes (beliefs, desires, regrets and so on) and suggest that a contrastive account of the propositional attitudes implies an anti-individualist account of propositional attitude concepts (the concepts of belief, desire, regret, and so on).
Can you disagree with someone without thinking that what they say is false? As we shall see, this is not only possible but quite frequent. Starting with the type of disagreement most familiar from the philosophical literature, we will progressively expand the circle of genuine disagreement until it encompasses even conceptual disagreement, which might sound like a contradiction in terms. For conceptual disagreement necessarily involves the parties' using different concepts, which one might think would preclude genuine disagreement. We shall argue (...) otherwise, adducing three different types of case in order to demonstrate the scope of this phenomenon. (shrink)
Justice, Gender and the Politics of Multiculturalism explores the tensions that arise when culturally diverse democratic states pursue both justice for religious and cultural minorities and justice for women. Sarah Song provides a distinctive argument about the circumstances under which egalitarian justice requires special accommodations for cultural minorities while emphasizing the value of gender equality as an important limit on cultural accommodation. Drawing on detailed case studies of gendered cultural conflicts, including conflicts over the 'cultural defense' in criminal law, (...) aboriginal membership rules and polygamy, Song offers a fresh perspective on multicultural politics by examining the role of intercultural interactions in shaping such conflicts. In particular, she demonstrates the different ways that majority institutions have reinforced gender inequality in minority communities and, in light of this, argues in favour of resolving gendered cultural dilemmas through intercultural democratic dialogue. (shrink)
Toward a Sociology of Conflict of Interest in Medical Research Content Type Journal Article Category Case Studies Pages 389-391 DOI 10.1007/s11673-011-9332-0 Authors Sarah Winch, School of Medicine, The University of Queensland, Queensland, Australia 4072 Michael Sinnott, School of Medicine, The University of Queensland, Queensland, Australia 4072 Journal Journal of Bioethical Inquiry Online ISSN 1872-4353 Print ISSN 1176-7529 Journal Volume Volume 8 Journal Issue Volume 8, Number 4.
This is an attack on the very notion of narrow content. In particular, I argue against two-factor theories of mental content, Chalmers's epistemic two-dimensional account of narrow content and Segal's truth-conditional account of narrow content.
In this paper I argue first, that a contrastive account of self-knowledge and the propositional attitudes entails an anti-individualist account of propositional attitude concepts, second, that the final account provides a solution to the McKinsey paradox, and third, that the account has the resources to explain why certain anti-skeptical arguments fail.
Among the many practical failures that threaten us, weakness of will or akrasia is often considered to be a paradigm of irrationality. The eleven new essays in this collection, written by an excellent international team of philosophers, some well-established, some younger scholars, give a rich overview of the current debate over weakness of will and practical irrationality more generally. Issues covered include classical questions such as the distinction between weakness and compulsion, the connection between evaluative judgement and motivation, the role (...) of emotions in akrasia, rational agency, and the existence of the will. The also include new topics, such as group akrasia, strength of will, the nature of correct choice, the structure of decision theory, the temporality of prudential reasons, and emotional rationality. Because these questions cut across philosophy of mind and ethics, the collection will be essential reading for scholars, postgraduates, and upper-level undergraduates in both these fields. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that content externalism and privileged access are compatible, but that one can, in a sense, have privileged access to the world. The supposedly absurd conclusion should be embraced.
Ducks lay eggs' is a true sentence, and `ducks are female' is a false one. Similarly, `mosquitoes carry the West Nile virus' is obviously true, whereas `mosquitoes don't carry the West Nile virus' is patently false. This is so despite the egg-laying ducks' being a subset of the female ones and despite the number of mosquitoes that don't carry the virus being ninety-nine times the number that do. Puzzling facts such as these have made generic sentences defy adequate semantic treatment. (...) However complex the truth conditions of generics appear to be, though, young children grasp generics more quickly and readily than seemingly simpler quantifiers such as `all' and `some'. I present an account of generics that not only illuminates the strange truth conditions of generics, but also explains how young children find them so comparatively easy to acquire. I then argue that generics give voice to our most cognitively primitive generalizations and that this hypothesis accounts for a variety of facts ranging from acquisition patterns to cross-linguistic data concerning the phonological articulation of operators. I go on to develop an account of the nature of these cognitively fundamental generalizations and argue that this account explains the strange truth-conditional behavior of generics. (shrink)
Mechanistic accounts of explanation have recently found popularity within philosophy of science. Presently, we introduce the idea of an extended mechanistic explanation, which makes explicit room for the role of environment in explanation. After delineating Craver and Bechtel’s account, we argue this suggestion is not sufficiently robust when we take seriously the mechanistic environment and modeling practices involved in studying contemporary complex biological systems. Our goal is to extend the already profitable mechanistic picture by pointing out the importance of the (...) mechanistic environment. It is our belief that extended mechanistic explanations, or mechanisms that take into consideration the temporal sequencing of the interplay between the mechanism and the environment, allow for mechanistic explanations regarding a broader group of scientific phenomena. (shrink)
In this paper, I develop a neglected puzzle for the moral realist. I then canvass some potential responses. Although I endorse one response as the most promising of those I survey, my primary goal is to make vivid how formidable the puzzle is, as opposed to offering a definitive solution.
A collection of papers to illustrate new waves in Philosophy of Language: -/- "Linguistic Puzzles and Semantic Pretence" by B. Armour-Garb & J. Woodbridge; "Minimal Semantics and the Nature of Psychological Evidence" by E. Borg; "A Naturalistic Approach to the Philosophy of Language" by J. Collins; "In Praise of our Linguistic Intuitions" by A. Everett; "Phenomenal Continua and Secondary Properties" by P. Greenough; "Semantic Oughts in Context" by A. Hattiangadi; "Content Force and Semantic Norms" by M. Kolbel; "Linguistic Competence and (...) Propositional Knowledge" by G. Longworth; "Expressives and Beyond" by S. Predelli; "Analyticity in Externalist Languages" by G. Russell ; "Names as Predicates" by S. Sawyer; "The Epistemic Reading of Counterfactual Conditionals" by K. Schulz; "Introduction, Transmission, and the Foundations of Meaning" by J. Speaks. (shrink)
Constructivists about memory argue that memory is a capacity for building representations of past events from a generalized information store. The view is motivated by the memory errors discovered in cognitive psychology. Little has been known about the neural mechanisms by which false memories are produced. Recently, using a method I call the Optogenetic False Memory Technique, neuroscientists have created false memories in mice. In this paper, I examine how Constructivism fares in light of O-FaMe results. My aims are two-fold. (...) First, I argue that errors found in O-FaMe and cognitive psychology are similar behaviorally. Second, Constructivists should be able to explain the former since they purport to explain the latter, but they cannot. I conclude that O-FaMe studies reveal details about the mechanism by which false memories are produced that are incompatible with the explanatory approach to false memories favored by Constructivism. (shrink)
Aristotle connects modality and time in ways strange and perplexing to modern readers. In this book the author proposes a new solution to this exegetical problem. Although primarily expository, this work explores topics of central concern for current investigations into causality, time, and change.
Plato's Timaeus is one of the most influential and challenging works of ancient philosophy to have come down to us. Sarah Broadie's rich and compelling study proposes new interpretations of major elements of the Timaeus, including the separate Demiurge, the cosmic 'beginning', the 'second mixing', the Receptacle and the Atlantis story. Broadie shows how Plato deploys the mythic themes of the Timaeus to convey fundamental philosophical insights and examines the profoundly differing methods of interpretation which have been brought to (...) bear on the work. Her book is for everyone interested in Ancient Greek philosophy, cosmology and mythology, whether classicists, philosophers, historians of ideas or historians of science. It offers new findings to scholars familiar with the material, but it is also a clear and reliable resource for anyone coming to it for the first time. (shrink)
One of the main themes that has emerged from behavioral decision research during the past three decades is the view that people's preferences are often constructed in the process of elicitation. This idea is derived from studies demonstrating that normatively equivalent methods of elicitation (e.g., choice and pricing) give rise to systematically different responses. These preference reversals violate the principle of procedure invariance that is fundamental to all theories of rational choice. If different elicitation procedures produce different orderings of options, (...) how can preferences be defined and in what sense do they exist? This book shows not only the historical roots of preference construction but also the blossoming of the concept within psychology, law, marketing, philosophy, environmental policy, and economics. Decision making is now understood to be a highly contingent form of information processing, sensitive to task complexity, time pressure, response mode, framing, reference points, and other contextual factors. (shrink)
Recent scholarship resuscitates the history and philosophy of a ‘left wing’ in the Vienna Circle, offering a counterhistory to the conventional image of analytic philosophy as politically conformist. This paper disputes the historical claim that early logical empiricists developed a political philosophy of science. Though some individuals in the Vienna Circle, including Rudolf Carnap and Otto Neurath, believed strongly in the importance of science to social progress, they did not construct a political philosophy of science. Both Carnap and Neurath were (...) committed to forms of political neutralism that run strongly against a political reading of their logical empiricism. In addition, Carnap and Neurath sharply differ on precisely the subject of the place of politics in logical empiricism, throwing into question the construct of the ‘Left Vienna Circle’ as a coherent, sociohistorical, programmatic unit within the Vienna Circle.Keywords: Vienna Circle; Rudolf Carnap; Otto Neurath; Logical empiricism; History of philosophy of science; Political philosophy of science. (shrink)
I wish more books of philosophy were like this one. It is elegantly written. It is filled with provocative claims and ingenious arguments. It is a really good read, even while it forces us to rethink many of our assumptions about practical reason and practical reasoning, morality and agency.