During interaction with computer-based 3-D simulations like virtual reality, users may experience a sense of involvement called presence. Presence is commonly defined as the subjective feeling of "being there". We discuss the state of the art in this inno vative research area and introduce a situated cognition perspective on presence. We argue that presence depends on the proper integration of aspects relevant to an agent's movement and perception, to her actions, and to her conception of the overall situ a tion (...) in which she finds herself, as well as on how these aspects mesh with the possibilities for action afforded in the interaction with the artifact. We also aim at showing that studies of presence offer a test-bed for different theories of situated co gnition.›. (shrink)
Presence is commonly defined as the subjective feeling of "being there". It has been mainly conceived of as deriving from immersion, interaction, and social and narrative involvement with suitable technology. We argue that presence depends on a suitable integration of aspects relevant to an agent's movement and perception, to her actions, and to her conception of the overall situation in which she finds herself, as well as on how these aspects mesh with the possibilities for action afforded in the interaction (...) with the virtual environment. (shrink)
The present paper discusses different approaches to metaphysics and defends a specific, non-deflationary approach that nevertheless qualifies as scientifically-grounded and, consequently, as acceptable from the naturalistic viewpoint. By critically assessing some recent work on science and metaphysics, we argue that such a sophisticated form of naturalism, which preserves the autonomy of metaphysics as an a priori enterprise yet pays due attention to the indications coming from our best science, is not only workable but recommended.
At Columbia University in 1906, William James gave a highly confrontational speech to the American Philosophical Association (APA). He ignored the technical philosophical questions the audience had gathered to discuss and instead addressed the topic of human energy. Tramping on the rules of academic decorum, James invoked the work of amateurs, read testimonials on the benefits of yoga and alcohol, and concluded by urging his listeners to take up this psychological and physiological problem. What was the goal of this unusual (...) speech? Rather than an oddity, Francesca Bordogna asserts that the APA address was emblematic—it was just one of many gestures that James employed as he plowed through the barriers between academic, popular, and pseudoscience, as well as the newly emergent borders between the study of philosophy, psychology, and the “science of man.” Bordogna reveals that James’s trespassing of boundaries was an essential element of a broader intellectual and social project. By crisscrossing divides, she argues, James imagined a new social configuration of knowledge, a better society, and a new vision of the human self. As the academy moves toward an increasingly interdisciplinary future, William James at the Boundaries reintroduces readers to a seminal influence on the way knowledge is pursued. (shrink)
This paper offers a critical assessment of the current state of the debate about the identity and individuality of material objects. Its main aim, in particular, is to show that, in a sense to be carefully specified, the opposition between the Leibnizian ‘reductionist’ tradition, based on discernibility, and the sort of ‘primitivism’ that denies that facts of identity and individuality must be analysable has become outdated. In particular, it is argued that—contrary to a widespread consensus—‘naturalised’ metaphysics supports both the acceptability (...) of non-qualitatively grounded (both ‘contextual’ and intrinsic) identity and a pluralistic approach to individuality and individuation. A case study is offered that focuses on non-relativistic quantum mechanics, in the context of which primitivism about identity and individuality, rather than being regarded as unscientific, is on the contrary suggested to be preferable to the complicated forms of reductionism that have recently been proposed. More generally, by assuming a plausible form of anti-reductionism about scientific theories and domains, it is claimed that science can be regarded as compatible with, or even as suggesting, the existence of a series of equally plausible grades of individuality. The kind of individuality that prevails in a certain context and at a given level can be ascertained only on the basis of the specific scientific theory at hand. (shrink)
In recent work, the interrelated questions of whether there is a fundamental level to reality, whether ontological dependence must have an ultimate ground, and whether the monist thesis should be endorsed that the whole universe is ontologically prior to its parts have been explored with renewed interest. Jonathan Schaffer has provided arguments in favour of 'priority monism' in a series of articles (2003, 2004, 2007a, 2007b, forthcoming). In this paper, these arguments are analysed, and it is claimed that they are (...) not compelling: in particular, the possibility that there is no ultimate level of basic entities that compose everything else is on a par with the possibility of infinite 'upward' complexity. The idea that we must, at any rate, postulate an ontologically fundamental level for methodological reasons ( Cameron 2008 ) is also discussed and found unconvincing: all things considered, there may be good reasons for endorsing 'metaphysical infinitism'. In any event, a higher degree of caution in formulating metaphysical claims than found in the extant literature appears advisable. (shrink)
In the last decade, structural realism has been presented as the most promising strategy for developing a defensible realist view of science. Nevertheless, controversy still continues in relation to the exact meaning of the proposed structuralism. The stronger version of structural realism, the so-called ontic structural realism, has been argued for on the basis of some ideas related to quantum mechanics. In this paper, I will first outline these arguments, mainly developed by Steven French and James Ladyman, then challenge them, (...) putting a particular emphasis on a metaphysical principle which, even though it is crucial for the whole argument, hasn't been, in my opinion, clearly stated and examined yet. My overall view will be that a weaker version of the form of realism we are considering is more plausible – namely, epistemic structural realism. (shrink)
Teller argued that violations of Bell’s inequalities are to be explained by interpreting quantum entangled systems according to ‘relational holism’, that is, by postulating that they exhibit irreducible (‘inherent’) relations. Teller also suggested a possible application of this idea to quantum statistics. However, the basic proposal was not explained in detail nor has the additional idea about statistics been articulated in further work. In this article, I reconsider relational holism, amending it and spelling it out as appears necessary for a (...) proper assessment, and application, of the position. †To contact the author, please write to: FB Philosophie‐Zukunftskolleg, University of Konstanz, Universitätstraße 10, 78464, Konstanz, Germany; e‐mail: matteo.morganti@uni ‐konstanz.de. (shrink)
Science and philosophy both express, and attempt to quench, the distinctively human thirst for knowledge. Today, their mutual relationship has become one of conflict or indifference rather than cooperation. At the same time, scientists and philosophers alike have moved away from at least some of our ordinary beliefs. But what can scientific and philosophical theories tell us about the world, in isolation from each other? And to what extent does a sophisticated investigation into the nature of things force us to (...) question commonsense beliefs? This book defends a form of naturalism which preserves the autonomy of metaphysics – the part of philosophy that aims to uncover the fundamental features of reality - while also keeping science centre stage. The proposed methodological perspective allows one to seek the right equilibrium between science, metaphysics and common sense. This is illustrated via three case studies, which provide a clear discussion of key philosophical issues. (shrink)
We put forward a new, ‘coherentist’ account of quantum entanglement, according to which entangled systems are characterized by symmetric relations of ontological dependence among the component particles. We compare this coherentist viewpoint with the two most popular alternatives currently on offer—structuralism and holism—and argue that it is essentially different from, and preferable to, both. In the course of this article, we point out how coherentism might be extended beyond the case of entanglement and further articulated.
This paper is about metaphysical ‘infinitism’, the view that there are, or could be, infinite chains of ontological dependence. Its main aim is to show that, contrary to widespread opinion, metaphysical infinitism is a coherent position. On the basis of this, it is then additionally argued that metaphysical infinitism need not fare worse than the more canonical ‘foundationalist’ alternatives when it comes to formulating metaphysical explanations. In the course of the discussion, a rather unexplored parallel with the debate concerning infinitism (...) about justification is suggested. (shrink)
This article offers a limited defense of metaphysical “infinitism,” the view that there are, or might be, infinite chains of ontological dependence. According to a widespread presupposition, there must be an ultimate ground of being—most likely, a plurality of fundamental atoms. Contrary to this view, this article shows that metaphysical infinitism is internally coherent. In particular, a parallel with the debate concerning infinitism about epistemic justification is suggested, and an “emergence model” of being is put forward. According to the emergence (...) model, the being of any given entity gradually arises out of an infinite series of progressively less dependent entities—it is not wholly transmitted, as it were, from a basic, ungrounded level to all the dependent ones in a step-by-step fashion. Some objections are considered and rebutted. (shrink)
This is the first part of a two-tier overview article on fundamentality in metaphysics and the philosophy of physics. It provides an introduction to the notion of fundamentality in metaphysics, as well as to several related concepts. The key issues in the contemporary debate on the topic are summarised, making systematic reference to the most relevant literature. In particular, various ways in which the fundamental entities and the fundamental structure of reality may be conceived are illustrated and discussed. A final (...) brief section looks at the methodological issue of naturalism, paving the way for the survey of fundamentality in the philosophy of physics, which is carried out in the second part. (shrink)
The topic of this article is the ontology of practical reasons. We draw a critical comparison between two views. According to the first, practical reasons are states of affairs; according to the second, they are propositions. We first isolate and spell out in detail certain objections to the second view that can be found only in embryonic form in the literature – in particular, in the work of Jonathan Dancy. Next, we sketch possible ways in which one might respond to (...) each one of these objections. A careful evaluation of these complaints and responses, we argue, shows that the first view is not as obviously compelling as it is thought by Dancy. Indeed, it turns out that the view that practical reasons are propositions is by no means unworkable and in fact, at least under certain assumptions, explicit considerations can be made in favour of a propositional construal of reasons. (shrink)
This paper puts forward the hypothesis that the distinctive features of quantum statistics are exclusively determined by the nature of the properties it describes. In particular, all statistically relevant properties of identical quantum particles in many-particle systems are conjectured to be irreducible, ‘inherent’ properties only belonging to the whole system. This allows one to explain quantum statistics without endorsing the ‘Received View’ that particles are non-individuals, or postulating that quantum systems obey peculiar probability distributions, or assuming that there are primitive (...) restrictions on the range of states accessible to such systems. With this, the need for an unambiguously metaphysical explanation of certain physical facts is acknowledged and satisfied. (shrink)
In this paper, we focus on two related reductive theses in metaphysics—Humean Supervenience and Composition as Identity—and on their status in light of the indications coming from science, in particular quantum mechanics. While defenders of these reductive theses claim that they can be updated so as to resist the quantum evidence, we provide arguments against this contention. We claim that physics gives us reason for thinking that both Humean Supervenience and Composition as Identity are at least contingently false, as the (...) very process of composition determines, at least in some cases, the nature of composed systems. The argument has essentially to do with the fact that denying the reductive theses in question allows one to provide better explanations for the quantum evidence. (shrink)
Our perception of where touch occurs on our skin shapes our interactions with the world. Most accounts of cutaneous localisation emphasise spatial transformations from a skin-based reference frame into body-centred and external egocentric coordinates. We investigated another possible method of tactile localisation based on an intrinsic perception of ‘skin space’. The arrangement of cutaneous receptive fields (RFs) could allow one to track a stimulus as it moves across the skin, similarly to the way animals navigate using path integration. We applied (...) curved tactile motions to the hands of human volunteers. Participants identified the location midway between the start and end points of each motion path. Their bisection judgements were systematically biased towards the integrated motion path, consistent with the characteristic inward error that occurs in navigation by path integration. We thus showed that integration of continuous sensory inputs across several tactile RFs provides an intrinsic mechanism for spatial perception. (shrink)
An argument to the effect that, under a few reasonable assumptions, the bare particular ontology is best understood in terms of supersubstativalism: objects are identical to regions of space(-time) and properties directly inhere in space(-time) points or region as their bearers.
Abstract In this article, a critical assessment is carried out of the two available forms of nominalism with respect to the ontological constitution of material objects: resemblance nominalism and trope theory. It is argued that these two nominalistic ontologies naturally converge towards each other when the problems they have to face are identified and plausible solutions to these problems are sought. This suggests a synthesis between the two perspectives along lines first proposed by Sellars, whereby, at least at the level (...) of the simplest, truly fundamental constituents of reality, every particular is literally both an object and a particularized property (or, alternatively put, the distinction between objects and properties dissolves). Some potential problems and open issues for such an approach to nominalism in ontology are identified and discussed, with particular emphasis on the sort of fundamentalism that seems to crucially underlie the proposed ontology. Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-14 DOI 10.1007/s12136-011-0145-x Authors Matteo Morganti, Department of Philosophy, University of Rome ‘RomaTRE’, Via Ostiense, 234, 00144 Rome, Italy Journal Acta Analytica Online ISSN 1874-6349 Print ISSN 0353-5150. (shrink)
This paper provides a defence of the account of partial resemblances between properties according to which such resemblances are due to partial identities of constituent properties. It is argued, first of all, that the account is not only required by realists about universals à la Armstrong, but also useful (of course, in an appropriately re-formulated form) for those who prefer a nominalistic ontology for material objects. For this reason, the paper only briefly considers the problem of how to conceive of (...) the structural universals first posited by Armstrong in order to explain partial resemblances, and focuses instead on criticisms that have been levelled against the theory (by Pautz, Eddon, Denkel and Gibb) and that apply regardless of one’s preferred ontological framework. The partial identity account is defended from these objections and, in doing so, a hitherto quite neglected connection—between the debate about partial similarity as partial identity and that concerning ontological finitism versus infinitism—is looked at in some detail. (shrink)
Unethical and dishonest behavior has increasingly attracted the attention of scholars from various disciplines. Recent work has begun to focus on a previous overlooked factor predicting dishonest behavior: the beneficiary or victim of dishonest acts. In two laboratory experiments, we manipulate the level of resources allocated to our participants (their "wealth") and investigate whether perceived inequity from wealth that is randomly or subjectively assigned leads individuals to cross ethical boundaries through helping or hurting others. The results show that dishonest behavior (...) is influenced by positive and negative inequity that motivates helping and hurting acts. Furthermore, a third experiment shows that people tend to discount the wrongness of crossing ethical boundaries to hurt or help others when the action restores equity. (shrink)
Structural realism first emerged as an epistemological thesis aimed to avoid the socalled pessimistic metainduction on the history of science. Some authors, however, have suggested that the preservation of structure across theory change is best explained by endorsing the metaphysical thesis that structure is all there is. Although the possibility of this latter, ‘ontic’ form of structural realism has been extensively debated, not much has been said concerning its justification. In this article, I distinguish between two arguments in favor of (...) ontic structural realism that can be reconstructed from the literature and find both of them wanting. (shrink)
Sociopolitical attitudes are often the root cause of conflicts between individuals, groups, and even nations, but little is known about the origin of individual differences in sociopolitical orientation. We test a combination of economic and evolutionary ideas about the degree to which the mating market, sex, age, and income affect sociopolitical orientation. We collected data online through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk from 1108 US participants who were between 18 and 60, fluent in English, and single. While ostensibly testing a new online (...) dating website, participants created an online dating profile and described people they would like to date. We manipulated the participants’ popularity in the mating market and the size of the market and then measured participants’ sociopolitical attitudes. The sociopolitical attitudes were reduced to five dimensions via Principal Components Analysis. Both manipulations affected attitudes toward wealth redistribution but were largely not significant predictors of the other dimensions. Men reported more unrestricted sociosexual attitudes, and more support for benevolent sexism and traditional family values, than women did, and women supported wealth redistribution more than men did. There was no sex difference in accepting nonconforming behaviors. Younger people and people with lower incomes were more liberal than older people and people with higher incomes, respectively, regardless of sex. Overall, effects were largely not interactive, suggesting that individual differences in sociopolitical orientation may reflect strategic self-interest and be more straightforward than previously predicted. (shrink)
Abortion is largely accepted even for reasons that do not have anything to do with the fetus' health. By showing that (1) both fetuses and newborns do not have the same moral status as actual persons, (2) the fact that both are potential persons is morally irrelevant and (3) adoption is not always in the best interest of actual people, the authors argue that what we call ‘after-birth abortion’ (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion (...) is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled. (shrink)
Metaphor has been considered as a cognitive process, independent of the verbal versus visual mode, through which an unknown conceptual domain is understood in terms of another known conceptual domain. Metaphor might instead be viewed as a cognitive process, dependent on the mode, which leads to genuinely new knowledge via ignorance. First, I argue that there are two main senses of ignorance at stake when we understand a metaphor: (1) we ignore some existing properties of the known domain in the (...) sense that we disregard or neglect them; (2) we ignore some “non-existing” properties of the known domain in the sense that they are not a piece of information belonging to the known domain, but emerge in metaphor interpretation. Secondly, I consider a metaphor as a reasoning device, guiding the interpreters along a path of inferences to a conclusion, which attributes to the target some properties of the source. In this path, interpreters might (1) (re)discover the ignored existing properties of the known domain and/or (2) recover the “non-existing” properties, inferring or imagining the missing piece of information. Finally, I argue that, especially in visual metaphors, this process is guided by a “sentiment of (ir)rationality”, tracking a disruption of existing familiar conceptualisations of objects and/or actions and a (partial) recovery of ignored properties. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to provide a definition of the the notion of complete and immediate formal grounding through the concepts of derivability and complexity. It will be shown that this definition yields a subtle and precise analysis of the concept of grounding in several paradigmatic cases.
In Poggiolesi we have introduced a rigorous definition of the notion of complete and immediate formal grounding; in the present paper our aim is to construct a logic for the notion of complete and immediate formal grounding based on that definition. Our logic will have the form of a calculus of natural deduction, will be proved to be sound and complete and will allow us to have fine-grained grounding principles.
In a recent paper, Sun Demirli (2010) proposes an allegedly new way of conceiving of individuation in the context of the bundle theory of object constitution. He suggests that allowing for distance relations to individuate objects solves the problems with worlds containing indiscernible objects that would otherwise affect the theory. The aim of the present paper is i) To show that Demirli’s proposal falls short of achieving this goal and ii) To carry out a more general critical assessment of the (...) issue by appraising the costs and benefits of Demirli’s view as well as of existing alternatives. (shrink)
In this paper, it is argued that Aristotelian hylomorphism can supply a useful and informative account of composite entities as these are described by physical theory. In particular, a hylomorphic account of quantum entangled systems is defined in detail, and compared to other alternatives currently on offer—in particular, ontic structural realism. In closing, it is suggested that the view of entanglement outlined here meshes well with a recently proposed ‘coherentist’ conception.