Understanding the causes of behavior is one of philosophy's oldest challenges. In analyzing human desires, Bertrand Russell's position was clearly related to that of psychological hedonism. Still, though he seems to have held quite consistently that desires and emotions govern human behavior, he claimed that they do not necessarily do so by making us want to maximize pleasure. This claim is related to several being made in today's psychology and philosophy. I point out a string of facts and arguments indicating (...) the weakness of this position, and briefly discuss the possibility of developing a set of assumptions regarding behavioral causation common to students of thinking and behavior. (shrink)
Self-control is in the eye of the beholder. However, we speak of if a person has come to think conscious thoughts that change the motivational value of stimuli in the outside world. It is claimed that conscious thinking, and not habits bordering on compulsion, is behind self-control.
Dienes & Perner present a very interesting analysis of two types of knowledge. It is not clear, however, that the words “implicit” and “explicit” are the best basis on which to build a theory of the two types of knowledge. One is also left uncertain as to whether this theory is the best way of ordering the greatest possible amount of relevant data in a way that yields the simplest account possible.
It is a common view that radical contextualism about linguistic meaning is incompatible with a compositional explanation of linguistic comprehension. Recently, some philosophers of language have proposed theories of 'pragmatic' compositionality challenging this assumption. This paper takes a close look at a prominent proposal of this kind due to François Recanati. The objective is to give a plausible formulation of the view. The major results are threefold. First, a basic distinction that contextualists make between mandatory and optional pragmatic processes needs (...) to be revised. Second, the pragmatic theory can withstand a Davidsonian objection only by rejecting the importance of a distinction between primitive and non-primitive semantic items. Thirdly, however, the theory is now open to a worry about how it should be understood: either the theory consists in a very broad functionalist generalization about communication, which makes it explanatorily inert, or it boils down to a highly particularist view about linguistic meaning. Finally, I argue that Recanati's notion of 'occasion meaning' is problematic and suggest replacing it with the notion of speaker meaning, which is explanatorily more basic. (shrink)
According to the dominant view, the later Wittgenstein identified the meaning of an expression with its use in the language and vehemently rejected any kind of mentalism or intentionalism about linguistic meaning. I argue that the dominant view is wrong. The textual evidence, which has either been misunderstood or overlooked, indicates that at least since the Blue Book Wittgenstein thought speakers' intentions determine the contents of linguistic utterances. His remarks on use are only intended to emphasize the heterogeneity of natural (...) language. Taking into account remarks written after he finished the Investigations, I show how Wittgenstein anticipated the basic tenets of Gricean intention-based semantics. These are, in particular, the distinction between ‘natural’ and ‘non-natural’ meaning and the distinction between what a speaker means by an utterance and what the expression uttered means in the speaker’s natural language. Importantly, Wittgenstein also believed that only the meaning of the speaker determined the content of ambiguous expressions, such as ‘bank’, on a particular occasion of utterance. (shrink)
The paper presents a semantics for quantified modal logic which has a weaker axiomatization than the usual Kripke semantics. In particular, the Barcan Formula and its converse are not valid with the proposed semantics. Subclasses of models which validate BF and other interesting formulas are presented. A completeness theorem is proved, and the relation between this result and completeness with respect to Kripke models is investigated.
A modified version of Normann's hierarchy of domains with totality  is presented and is shown to be suitable for interpretation of Martin-Löf's intuitionistic type theory. This gives an interpretation within classical set theory, which is natural in the sense that $\Sigma$ -types are interpreted as sets of pairs and $\Pi$ -types as sets of choice functions. The hierarchy admits a natural definition of the total objects in the domains, and following an idea of Berger  this makes possible an (...) interpretation where a type is defined to be true if its interpretation contains a total object. In particular, the empty type contains no total objects and will therefore be false (in any non-empty context). In addition, there is a natural equivalence relation on the total objects, so we derive a hierarchy of topological spaces (quotient spaces wrt. the Scott topology), and give a second interpretation using this hierarchy. (shrink)
Respect and tolerance are key values in education. They are also among the aims of education and are brought to the foreground in educational policy. We argue that these values are neither philosophically nor politically given aims for which education is a means. Instead, respect and tolerance are enacted and negotiated through educational practices. We emphasize that respect and tolerance should be empirically and critically studied in educational practices. The discussion is based in two previous research projects and the material (...) includes interviews with teachers and students and classroom observations. Moral philosophy is positioned as a conversation partner with the data material. We conclude that respect and tolerance are performed in different modes in practice. These two values cannot be understood as individual cognitive aspects but as multimodal processes and as aspects of collective, bodily and material practices. This article provides a contribution to the theorizing about educating for respect and tolerance. (shrink)
Critical thinking is currently much celebrated in the contemporary West and beyond, not least in higher education. Tertiary education students are generally expected to adopt a critical attitude in order to become responsible and constructive participants in the development of modern democratic society. Currently, the perceived desirability of critical thinking has even made it into a seemingly successful marketable commodity. A brief online search yields a vast number of books that are mostly presented as self-help manuals to enable readers to (...) enhance their critical abilities. But how should critical thinking be taught? Is it at all possible? Instead of attempting to provide a direct answer to this pressing question, this paper seeks inspiration in a culturally rather remote philosophy of education that hitherto has not been regarded as a stimulant for critical thinking, namely the ancient philosophy of Confucianism. The paper argues that not only are most if not all types of thinking regarded in the West as ‘critical’ also present in Confucianism, but also that the Confucian philosophy presides over a particular type which increasingly tends to be neglected in the contemporary West; a type that I call ‘transformative self-critical attitude’. Through a comparison with the well-known Teaching Perspectives Inventory in higher education, the transformative self-critical attitude is used to elucidate some further aspects of the Confucian philosophy of education that may offer valuable insights to contemporary educators. (shrink)
In this paper I consider the relation between Descartes' psychology of vision and the cognitive science approach to psychology (henceforth CS). In particular, I examine Descartes' the Optics (1637) in the light of David Marr's (1982) position in CS. My general claim is that CS can be seen as a rediscovery of Descartes' psychology of vision. In the first section, I point to a parallel between Descartes' epistemological revolution, which created the modem version of the problem of perception, and the (...) cognitive revolution. These fundamental revolutions in theoretical psychology were both inspired and legitimated by a revolution in mathematics. They took place in accordance with one of Marr's maxims: “To the desirable via the possible”. In the second section, I demonstrate that in the Optics, Descartes explains perception of metrical properties in a way that — on a detailed level — is in accordance with how Man argues that complex information processing systems have to be explained: both Descartes and Man emphasize the co-ordination of logical and physical analysis. In the third section, I claim that Descartes' arguments for a sharp distinction between mechanical transmission of sense data (sensation) and non-mechanical inferences on those sense data (thinking) are sound arguments seen from Man's position in CS. Descartes' arguments are based on his logical and physical analysis. Malebranche's radicalized version of Cartesian dualism turns Descartes' empirically-based assumption that mechanisms cannot realize inferences into a metaphysical assumption. In the final section, I argue that this metaphysical assumption contributes to an understanding of perception as a non-symbolic, non-inferential bottom-up process in mainstream monistic and mechanistic scientific psychology until the cognitive revolution. (shrink)
SUMMARYScottish publisher and naturalist Robert Chambers pursued an amateur interest in geology through much of his life. His early measurements of raised beaches in Scotland earned him membership in the Geological Society of London in 1844, a recognition much appreciated by the anonymous author of the ‘scandalous’ Vestiges published the same year. Although familiar with emerging ice age theories, Chambers remained with most British geologists a sceptic through the 1840s, even after a trip to the glaciers of the Alps in (...) 1848, which nevertheless prepared him for the turning point, which came in 1849 during an extensive field trip in Norway and Sweden. Here a wealth of observations left him in no doubt that vast glaciers had formerly covered Scandinavia, polishing cliffs, scouring striations, depositing old moraines and erratic boulders. This also led him to a new glacial reading of the British landscape, and with the ardent conviction of a fresh convert he became one of the most vocal supporters of glacial theory in Britain in the 1850s at a time when the iceberg drift theory for boulder transport was still favoured by most prominent British geologists. While Chambers through his popular Chambers’s Edinburgh Journal communicated his travels and ice age vision to a wide audience, and also pointed out ice age evidence on guided excursions around Edinburgh, he did not enter this new vision into subsequent editions of Vestiges, probably in order not to reveal its author. This paper explores Chambers’s contributions to the ice age debate, his field trips and the genesis of his convictions, and evaluates his impact on the scientific debate. (shrink)
In this paper, we explore the possible contributions of empirical moral philosophy to professional ethics in teacher education. We argue that it is both possible and desirable to connect knowledge of how teachers empirically do and understand professional ethics with normative theories of teachers’ professional ethics. Our argument is made in dialogue with the moral philosophy of Charles Taylor and the emerging tradition of ‘empirical ethics’ in psychiatry. We also draw on empirical data from a larger empirical project on teachers’ (...) professional ethics in Norway. Our main contribution is the development of a method for empirical professional ethics that involves three steps: articulation, disturbance and expansion. (shrink)
Historically, entities with a vested interest in a product that critics have suggested is harmful have consistently used research to back their claims that the product is safe. Prominent examples are: tobacco, lead, bisphenol A, and atrazine. Research literature indicates that about 80–90 % of studies with industry affiliation found no harm from the product, while only about 10–20 % of studies without industry affiliation found no harm. In parallel to other historical debates, recent studies examining a possible relationship between (...) mercury exposure and autism spectrum disorder show a similar dichotomy. Studies sponsored and supported by industry or entities with an apparent conflict of interest have most often shown no evidence of harm or no “consistent” evidence of harm, while studies without such affiliations report positive evidence of a Hg/autism association. The potentially causal relationship between Hg exposure and ASD differs from other toxic products since there is a broad coalition of entities for whom a conflict of interest arises. These include influential governmental public health entities, the pharmaceutical industry, and even the coal burning industry. This review includes a systematic literature search of original studies on the potential relationship between Hg and ASD from 1999 to date, finding that of the studies with public health and/or industry affiliation, 86 % reported no relationship between Hg and ASD. However, among studies without public health and/or industry affiliation, only 19 % find no relationship between Hg and ASD. The discrepancy in these results suggests a bias indicative of a conflict of interest. (shrink)
Mandatory risk assessment is intended to reassure concerned citizens and introduce reason into the heated European controversies on genetically modified crops and food. The authors, examining a case of risk assessment of genetically modified oilseed rape, claim that the new European legislation on risk assessment does nothing of the sort and is not likely to present an escape from the international deadlock on the use of genetic modification in agriculture and food production. The new legislation is likely to stimulate the (...) kind of emotive reactions it was intended to prevent. In risk assessment exercises, scientific uncertainty is turned into risk, expressed in facts and figures. Paradoxically, this conveys an impression of certainty, while value-disagreement and conflicts of interest remain hidden below the surface of factuality. Public dialogue and negotiation along these lines are rendered impossible. The only option left to critics is to resort to claims of fear and to call for new risk assessments to be performed, on and on again. Science is allowing itself to be abused by accepting the burden of proof in matters more suited to reflection and negotiation. The specific challenge to science would be to take care of itself – rethinking the role and the limitations of science in a social context, and, thereby gaining the strength to fulfill this role and to enter into dialogue with the rest of society. Scientific communities appear to be obvious candidates for prompting reflection and dialogue on this issue. (shrink)
In Transcendence and Sensoriness , scholars of theology, philosophy, art, music, and architecture, discuss questions of transcendence, the human senses, and the arts through case studies considered in a broad theological framework of religious aesthetics of the arts.
The aim of this article is to show, first, that ritual in general and the Confucian li in particular can serve an important pedagogical function, and, secondly, that the sophisticated treatment of li by Confucius and his immediate followers demonstrates that they were consciously aware of this particular potential of li. The discussion takes off by considering formal, ritualized performances from an educational point of view by making use of some seminal, largely Western, research on ritual, though always with an (...) eye on li. It then turns more specifically to li as exemplifying informal interpersonal conduct, whereby pre-Qin Confucian writings will be consulted to construct an interpretation of li as creative and personalized edifying embodiments of a cultural legacy. It will be argued that both aspects of ritual, formal and informal, are potentially of value as a pedagogical tool for instilling a communal sense in the practitioners as well as enabling them to contribute creatively to the ongoing evolution of their cultural habitat. (shrink)
In his most recent book, Against Individualism: A Confucian Rethinking of the Foundations of Morality, Politics, Family, and Religion, Henry Rosemont defends against those who would call his reading of Confucianism—he sees it as a type of Role Ethics—a misinterpretation. Rosemont contends that Confucian Role Ethics is important for challenging individualism, even if it is somehow unfaithful to pre-Qin texts. He writes that he could "simply re-title" his book "Role Ethics: A Different Approach to Moral Philosophy Based on a Creative (...) Misreading of Early Confucian Writings". In Confucian Propriety and Ritual Learning: A Philosophical Interpretation, Geir Sigurðsson... (shrink)
Recent studies have pointed to the existence of a strong relationship between memory and mental representation, while others have shown that images are open to reinterpretation and manipulation; this volume offers a historical overview of the problem as well as a review of the research in psychology and related fields.
Historically, entities with a vested interest in a product that critics have suggested is harmful have consistently used research to back their claims that the product is safe. Prominent examples are: tobacco, lead, bisphenol A, and atrazine. Research literature indicates that about 80–90% of studies with industry affiliation found no harm from the product, while only about 10–20% of studies without industry affiliation found no harm. In parallel to other historical debates, recent studies examining a possible relationship between mercury exposure (...) and autism spectrum disorder show a similar dichotomy. Studies sponsored and supported by industry or entities with an apparent conflict of interest have most often shown no evidence of harm or no “consistent” evidence of harm, while studies without such affiliations report positive evidence of a Hg/autism association. The potentially causal relationship between Hg exposure and ASD differs from other toxic products since there is a broad coalition of entities for whom a conflict of interest arises. These include influential governmental public health entities, the pharmaceutical industry, and even the coal burning industry. This review includes a systematic literature search of original studies on the potential relationship between Hg and ASD from 1999 to August 2015, finding that of the studies with public health and/or industry affiliation, 86% reported no relationship between Hg and ASD. However, among studies without public health and/or industry affiliation, only 21% find no relationship between Hg and ASD. The discrepancy in these results suggests a bias indicative of a conflict of interest. (shrink)