What is the relationship between common-sense, or 'folk', psychology and contemporary scientific psychology? Are they in conflict with one another? Or do they perform quite different, though perhaps complementary, roles? George Botterill and Peter Carruthers discuss these questions, defending a robust form of realism about the commitments of folk psychology and about the prospects for integrating those commitments into natural science. Their focus throughout the book is on the ways in which cognitive science presents a challenge to our common-sense (...) self-image - arguing that our native conception of the mind will be enriched, but not overturned, by science. The Philosophy of Psychology is designed as a textbook for upper-level undergraduate and beginning graduate students in philosophy and cognitive science, but as a text that not only surveys but advances the debates on the topics discussed, it will also be of interest to researchers working in these areas. (shrink)
To give a causal explanation is to give information about causal history. But a vast amount of causal history lies behind anything that happens, far too much to be included in any intelligible explanation. This is the Problem of Limitation for explanatory information. To cope with this problem, explanations must select for what is relevant to and adequate for answering particular inquiries. In the present paper this idea is used in order to distinguish two kinds of causal explanation, on the (...) grounds of systematic differences in their conditions of relevance and adequacy. It is further argued that these two forms of causal explanation are interdependent and their interaction provides an instrument through which causal knowledge is acquired and enhanced. What we understand causation in the world to be is neither unconditioned regularity, nor counterfactual dependence, but the sum of correct answers to explanatory inquiries of these two interdependent kinds. (shrink)
Berkeley claims idealism provides a novel argument for the existence of God. But familiar interpretations of his argument fail to support the conclusion that there is a single omnipotent spirit. A satisfying reconstruction should explain the way Berkeley moves between first person singular and plural, as well as providing a powerful argument, once idealism is accepted. The new interpretation offered here represents the argument as an inference to the best explanation of a shared reality. Consequently, his use of the first (...) person must be taken as ‘exemplary’ rather than ‘Cartesian’. This explains the freedom of movement in the text between singular and plural. However, it also reveals Berkeley as side-stepping sceptical doubt. (shrink)
As an emerging discipline, neuroeconomics faces considerable methodological and practical challenges. In this paper, I suggest that these challenges can be understood by exploring the similarities and dissimilarities between the emergence of neuroeconomics and the emergence of cognitive and computational neuroscience two decades ago. From these parallels, I suggest the major challenge facing theory formation in the neural and behavioural sciences is that of being under-constrained by data, making a detailed understanding of physical implementation necessary for theory construction in neuroeconomics. (...) Rather than following a top-down strategy, neuroeconomists should be pragmatic in the use of available data from animal models, information regarding neural pathways and projections, computational models of neural function, functional imaging and behavioural data. By providing convergent evidence across multiple levels of organization, neuroeconomics will have its most promising prospects of success. (shrink)
After more than a decade of reflection on obedience experiments based on a laboratory model of his own design, the social psychologist Stanley Milgram is clearly confident that the experimental results make a substantial and striking contribution towards understanding human nature: Something … dangerous is revealed: the capacity for man to abandon his humanity, indeed, the inevitability that he does so, as he merges his unique personality into larger institutional structures.
Davidson argued that the fact we can have a reason for acting, and yet not be the reason why we act, requires explanation of action in terms of the agent's reasons to be causal. The present paper agrees with Dickenson (_Pacific Philosophical Quarterly_, 2007) in taking this argument to be an inference to the best explanation. However, its target phenomenon is the very existence of a case in which an agent has more than one reason, but acts exclusively becaue of (...) one reason. Folk psychology appears to allow for this phenomenon. However, appreciation of 'rationalization' as a form of contrastive explanation reveals the existence of the Davidsonian possibility to the problematic. Claims that 'I did it because of R1, not because of R2' are entertained in folk psychology, and may be sincere or insincere. But as reports of conscious practical reasoning, even when sincere, they are not authoritative about the mechanism of motivation. (shrink)
The article contests Affeldt's critique of Mulhall's "Stanley Cavell: Philosophy's Recounting of the Ordinary," by asking how deep the conflict between what Affeldt proposes as Cavell's account of Wittgenstein's notion of grammar and that of Baker and Hacker really goes. It argues that Affeldt's critique is successful against one interpretation of the claims that grammar consists of a framework of rules and that criteria function as a basis for judgment, but that other interpretations of these claims are available and appear (...) consistent with both Cavell's and Wittgenstein's positions. It concludes by suggesting that the real issue is how to combine a sense of the normativity of grammar with that of the role of the personal in grounding grammatical remarks. (shrink)
The prisoner 's dilemma game has acquired large literatures in several disciplines. It is surprising, therefore, that a good definition of the game is hard to find. Typically an author relates a story about captured criminals or military rivals, provides a particular payoff matrix and asserts that the PD is characterized, or illustrated, by that matrix. In the few cases in which characterizing conditions are given, the conditions, and the motivations for them, do not always agree with each other or (...) with the paradigm examples elsewhere. In this paper we describe several varieties of PD's. In particular, we suggest there are two distinctions among PD's with philosophical significance, the pure/impure and the utilitarian/nonutilitarian distinctions. In the first section, we explain and characterize the two distinctions. In the second, we discuss an issue of moral philosophy that illustrates the significance of the former. (shrink)
We often explain by citing an absence or an omission. Apart from the problem of assigning a causal role to such apparently negative factors as absences and omissions, there is a puzzle as to why only some absences and omissions, out of indefinitely many, should figure in explanations. In this paper we solve this ’many absences problem’ by using the contrastive model of explanation. The contrastive model of explanation is developed by adapting Peter Lipton’s account. What initially appears to be (...) only a trivial amendment to Lipton’s Difference Condition enables us both to offer a much more satisfactory solution to the ’many absences problem’ than David Lewis did, and also to explain why explanation in terms of absences and omissions should be so common. (shrink)
The thesis of underdetermination presents a major obstacle to the epistemological claims of scientific realism. That thesis is regularly assumed in the philosophy of science, but is puzzlingly at odds with the actual history of science, in which empirically adequate theories are thin on the ground. We propose to advance a case for scientific realism which concentrates on the process of scientific reasoning rather than its theoretical products. Developing an account of causal–explanatory inference will make it easier to resist the (...) thesis of underdetermination. For, if we are not restricted to inference to the best explanation only at the level of major theories, we will be able to acknowledge that there is a structure in data sets which imposes serious constraints on possible theoretical alternatives. We describe how Differential Inference, a form of inference based on contrastive explanation, can be used in order to generate causal hypotheses. We then go on to consider how experimental manipulation of differences can be used to achieve Difference Closure, thereby confirming claims of causal efficacy and also eliminating possible confounds. The model of Differential Inference outlined here shows at least one way in which it is possible to ‘reason from the phenomena’. (shrink)
In common with much of the Western world, agrarianism—valuing farmers and agricultural activity as intrinsically worthwhile, noble, and contributing to the strength of the national character—runs through Australian culture and politics. Agrarian sentiments and attitudes have been identified through empirical research and by inference from analysis of political debate, policy content, and studies of media and popular culture. Empirical studies have, however, been largely confined to the US, with little in the way of recent re-evaluations of, or developments from, early (...) work. This paper reports on research that seeks quantitative empirical evidence for the existence of agrarianism in the Australian community and seeks to identify its core characteristics. Using a purpose-designed sub-set of items within a large, omnibus-style survey of regional and rural Australia, we demonstrate that agrarianism exists as a scientifically quantifiable concept identifiable through responses to four key propositions: that Australians should support policies aimed at improving the position of the agricultural industries; that working in agriculture and associated industries brings out the best in people; that agricultural producers make a major contribution to environmental protection and biodiversity conservation; and that the development of agriculture in Australia contributed to the development of the national character. We found very little variation in the degree to which different demographic groupings agree with agrarianism. Older people, farmers, and non-Indigenous Australian-born respondents were among those who were statistically significantly more likely to agree with the defining propositions of agrarianism, but their scores were only very slightly higher than those of other sub-populations in the sample. (shrink)
John Finnis's powerfully and deservedly influential modern classic, Natural Law and Natural Rights, expounds a theory of law and morality that is based on a picture of “persons” using practical reason to pursue certain “basic goods.” While devoting much attention to practical reason and to the goods, however, Finnis says little about the nature of personhood. This relative inattention to what “persons” are creates a risk—one that Finnis himself notices—of assuming or importing an inadequate anthropology. This essay suggests that the (...) “new natural law” developed by Finnis suffers in places from the inadvertent adoption of a flawed anthropology—an anthropology under the thrall of modern individualistic commitments. To explain this suspicion, this article discusses three difficulties in his natural law theory: difficulties in accounting for the basic good of friendship, for obligations we owe to others, and for legal authority. These difficulties may seem disconnected, but this article suggests that they may all reflect an inadequate anthropology—one that Finnis does not exactly embrace but that is pervasive today and that in places may affect his theorizing. (shrink)
Improved control of agency is likely to be a prior and more important function of episodic memory than the epistemic-communicative role pinpointed by Mahr and Csibra. Taking the memory trace upon which scenario construction is based to be a stored internal model produced in past perceptual processing promises to provide a better account of autonoetic character than metarepresentational embedding.
Theists believe that God is eternal, but they differ as to just what God's eternality means . The traditional, historic view of most Christian philosophers is that eternality means that God is timeless. He is ‘outside’ of time and not subject to any kind of temporal change. Indeed, God is the creator of time. Lets call this view divine timelessness.
The physics and metaphysics of identity and individuality Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11016-010-9463-7 Authors Don Howard, Department of Philosophy and Graduate Program in History and Philosophy of Science, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA Bas C. van Fraassen, Philosophy Department, San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132, USA Otávio Bueno, Department of Philosophy, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL 33124, USA Elena Castellani, Department of Philosophy, University of Florence, Via Bolognese 52, 50139 (...) Florence, Italy Laura Crosilla, Department of Pure Mathematics, School of Mathematics, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT UK Steven French, Department of Philosophy, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK Décio Krause, Department of Philosophy, Federal University of Santa Catarina, 88040-900 Campus Trindade, Florianópolis, SC Brazil Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796. (shrink)
Should a theory of meaning state what sentences mean, and can a Davidsonian theory of meaning in particular do so? Max Ko¨lbel answers both questions affirmatively. I argue, however, that the phenomena of non-homophony, non-truth-conditional aspects of meaning, semantic mood, and context-sensitivity provide prima facie obstacles for extending Davidsonian truth-theories to yield meaning-stating theorems. Assessing some natural moves in reply requires a more fully developed conception of the task of such theories than Ko¨lbel provides. A more developed conception is also (...) required to defend his positive answer to the first question above. I argue that, however Ko¨lbel might elaborate his position, it can’t be by embracing the sort of cognitivist account of Davidsonian semantics to which he sometimes alludes. (shrink)
The work of Arthur de Gobineau has presented scholars with a number of interpretive problems concerning his status as a race theorist, his place in the history of racial thought, and the influence of his work on subsequent thinkers. This essay addresses the particularly vexing issue of the origins of Gobineau's racism from the perspective of his affiliation with French royalists in the 1840s and challenges the existing scholarship on the derivation of L'Essai sur l'inégalité des races humaines by placing (...) the Essai in the context of his international experience as a member of the French diplomatic corps. Although disillusioned with legitimist politics during the July Monarchy, Gobineau never abandoned his youthful ideological priorities. From the perspective of his royalist past, the Essai appears as part of an extended rumination on the decadence of the French aristocracy and its failure to stem the tide of revolution and bureaucratic centralization. As such, Gobineau's racism can best be understood as a royalist heresy rather than a continuation of his aristocratic elitism or a clean break with his earlier preoccupations. (shrink)
This book offers a discussion about how people think, talk, learn, and explain things in causal terms in terms of action and manipulation. Sloman also reviews the role of causality, causal models, and intervention in the basic human cognitive functions: decision making, reasoning, judgement, categorization, inductive inference, language, and learning.
In _Without Criteria_, Steven Shaviro proposes and explores a philosophical fantasy: imagine a world in which Alfred North Whitehead takes the place of Martin Heidegger. What if Whitehead, instead of Heidegger, had set the agenda for postmodern thought? Heidegger asks, "Why is there something, rather than nothing?" Whitehead asks, "How is it that there is always something new?" In a world where everything from popular music to DNA is being sampled and recombined, argues Shaviro, Whitehead's question is the truly (...) urgent one. _Without Criteria_ is Shaviro's experiment in rethinking postmodern theory, especially the theory of aesthetics, from a point of view that hearkens back to Whitehead rather than Heidegger. In working through the ideas of Whitehead and Deleuze, Shaviro also appeals to Kant, arguing that certain aspects of Kant's thought pave the way for the philosophical "constructivism" embraced by both Whitehead and Deleuze. Kant, Whitehead, and Deleuze are not commonly grouped together, but the juxtaposition of them in _Without Criteria_ helps to shed light on a variety of issues that are of concern to contemporary art and media practices. (shrink)
Are liberalism and perfectionism compatible? In this study Steven Wall presents and defends a perfectionist account of political morality that takes issue with many currently fashionable liberal ideas but retains the strong liberal commitment to the ideal of personal autonomy. He begins by critically discussing the most influential version of anti-perfectionist liberalism, examining the main arguments that have been offered in its defence. He then clarifies the ideal of personal autonomy, presents an account of its value and shows that (...) a strong commitment to personal autonomy is fully compatible with an endorsement of perfectionist political action designed to promote valuable pursuits and discourage base ones. (shrink)