Over the last twenty years, John Rawls has developed an approach to political philosophy which appeals to the notion of reflective equilibrium. This notion has proven suggestive to those attracted to coherence approaches to justification, in ethics and in other domains as well. In this paper, I explore the question whether Rawls’s approach provides a model for a coherentist account of justification, concluding that although the discussion of reflective equilibrium has provided helpful insights it has not produced a coherentist model (...) of justification. (shrink)
Previous research has shown that cognitive style impacts several areas of human behavior of interest to marketers. This article reports the results of an exploratory study testing the proposition that cognitive style can influence one's perceptions of what is and is not a matter of ethics. The findings indicate that cognitive style can play a role in one's perceptions of ethics, and may help further our understanding of the factors that bear on ethical points of view.
We report two experiments that investigated the widely held assumption that speakers use the addressee’s discourse model when choosing referring expressions (e.g., Ariel, 1990; Chafe, 1994; Givón, 1983; Prince, 1985), by manipulating whether the addressee could hear the immediately preceding linguistic context. Experiment 1 showed that speakers increased pronoun use (and decreased noun phrase use) when the referent was mentioned in the immediately preceding sentence compared to when it was not, even though the addressee did not hear the preceding sentence, (...) indicating that speakers used their own, privileged discourse model when choosing referring expressions. The same pattern of results was found in Experiment 2. Speakers produced more pronouns when the immediately preceding sentence mentioned the referent than when it mentioned a referential competitor, regardless of whether the sentence was shared with their addressee. Thus, we conclude that choice of referring expression is determined by the referent’s accessibility in the speaker’s own discourse model rather than the addressee’s. (shrink)
This article introduces the topic ‘‘Production of Referring Expressions: Bridging the Gap between Computational and Empirical Approaches to Reference’’ of the journal Topics in Cognitive Science. We argue that computational and psycholinguistic approaches to reference production can benefit from closer interaction, and that this is likely to result in the construction of algorithms that differ markedly from the ones currently known in the computational literature. We focus particularly on determinism, the feature of existing algorithms that is perhaps most clearly at (...) odds with psycholinguistic results, discussing how future algorithms might include non-determinism, and how new psycholinguistic experiments could inform the development of such algorithms. (shrink)
The need for research is asserted, and its essential features are described. The need for co‐operation between schools and research departments is stressed and explained. Three experiments, linked by their common basis in J. S. Bruner's work, are described. These illustrate some of the features of research set out in the opening section. Their ‘pilot’ nature is used to show how research may suggest further lines of fruitful enquiry.
The cognitive science student deserves our sympathy. It is difficult to think of another area of study where there is so much disagreement amongst the constituent parts, and even within those parts themselves -- neuroscience, AI, philosophy, psychology, linguistics, quantum and evolutionary theory. To illustrate this difficulty for the erstwhile student, imagine cognitive science as a collection of ball games with mind/brain/ consciousness as the ball. Instead of being able to concentrate on the one game as one might expect to (...) in another subject, the student is faced with a disparate range of disciplines. Some participants maintain it is only they who are playing the real game and that other games should be assimilated to their own. Then there are theorists who like to borrow from a number of games to create their own, whilst others suggest there is no common ground at all between games. We could go on further with this part of the analogy but let us now focus on the ball. Notice how it changes shape, material, size and playing surface from one game to the next -- football, hockey, squash, golf, tennis. Yet at least here the balls are round, the surface solid. How about badminton, rugby and water polo? Hardly surprising then that a cognitive science student needs to have special skills to cope with this confusion. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to explore the possibility of a new form of right that is both antidisciplinarian and liberated from sovereignty, the term Michel Foucault uses for what he claims to be the traditional theme of modern political philosophy. Some attempts to derive a theory of right from Foucaults critique have been made. However, by their own admission they do not yield a coherent and adequate theory, and other work has demonstrated the major problems inherent in Foucaults (...) critique that render such a project problematic. This paper takes a different approach by revising the philosophical foundations of modern democracy with the goal of developing a new theory of right that addresses the problems that Foucault identified. To provide a theoretical context for this exploration, Foucaults key concepts of disciplinary technologies, power, the construction and maintenance of human subjects, and the role of the human body in human subjection are briefly reviewed. The main analysis will focus on the ideas of three political theorists whose respective works represent the core of sovereignty, and who are indisputably basic to any student of Western political theory, namely Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau. The aim of this analysis is not to provide another critique of their virtues and shortcomings. Instead, the work of these thinkers is used in a pragmatic way, to elicit a new form of right that could serve as a counter to disciplinary power. Key Words: civil right Enlightenment Foucault natural right political philosophy political theory postmodern critique social justice. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to explore the possibility of a new form of right that is both antidisciplinarian and liberated from ‘sovereignty’, the term Michel Foucault uses for what he claims to be the traditional theme of modern political philosophy. Some attempts to derive a theory of right from Foucault’s critique have been made. However, by their own admission they do not yield a coherent and adequate theory, and other work has demonstrated the major problems inherent in Foucault’s (...) critique that render such a project problematic. This paper takes a different approach by revising the philosophical foundations of modern democracy with the goal of developing a new theory of right that addresses the problems that Foucault identified.To provide a theoretical context for this exploration, Foucault’s key concepts of disciplinary technologies, power, the construction and maintenance of human subjects, and the role of the human body in human subjection are briefly reviewed. The main analysis will focus on the ideas of three political theorists whose respective works represent the core of ‘sovereignty’, and who are indisputably basic to any student of Western political theory, namely Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau. The aim of this analysis is not to provide another critique of their virtues and shortcomings. Instead, the work of these thinkers is used in a pragmatic way, to elicit a new form of right that could serve as a counter to disciplinary power. (shrink)
Rule A: if it's metaphysically necessary that p, we may validly infer that no one is even partly morally responsible for the fact that p. Our principal aim in this article is to highlight the importance of this rule and to respond to two recent challenges to it. We argue that rule A is more important to contemporary theories of moral responsibility than has previously been recognized. We then consider two recent challenges to the rule and argue that neither challenge (...) successfully undermines the rule's initial appeal. (shrink)
Gil R, Arroyo-Anllo EM, Ingrand P, Gil M, Neau JP, Ornon C, Bonnaud V. Self-consciousness and Alzheimer’s disease. Acta Neurol Scand 2001: 104: 296–300. # Munksgaard 2001. Objectives – To propose a neuropsychological study of the various aspects of self-consciousness (SC) in Alzheimer’s disease. Methods – Forty-five patients with probable mild or moderate AD were included in the study. Severity of their dementia was assessed by the Mini Mental State (MMS). Fourteen questions were prepared to evaluate SC. Results – No (...) significant correlations were found between SC score and educational level, age, and duration of disease. A significant correlation was found between SC score and the severity of dementia, whereas frontal disturbances were just short of the significance threshold. The various aspects of SC were not impaired to the same degree. The most disturbed ones were awareness of cognitive deficiencies, moral judgements and prospective memory. The least disturbed aspects were awareness of identity and of mental representation of the body. Items relating to anosognosia and moral judgements were significantly correlated with the MMS score, whereas affective state, body representation disorders, prospective memory, and capacities for introspection were not related to the severity of the dementia. Consciousness of identity was sound, regardless of MMS score. Conclusions – AD clearly induces an heterogeneous impairment of SC. SC requires a convergence of many neural networks. In AD, neuronal alterations involve many cortical areas and information sent to the associative frontal cortex from memory, language and visuospatial areas is lacking or disturbed. Thus, the sequential order of successive stimuli cannot be maintained by the heteromodal associative cortex (dorsal convexity of the prefrontal cortex), and the supramodal associative cortex (located rostrally in the frontal lobes) is unable to provide reliable monitoring and assessment of simultaneous neural cognitive networks carrying insufficient and inadequate input. The core deficiency in AD patients might be impaired SC equated with the disability to maintain sequential and simultaneous ‘‘attention to life’’. The Self-Consciousness Questionnaire, a clinical scale providing multidimensional measurement, indicates that different aspects of consciousness are not correlated with overall cognitive deficiency as determined by the MMSE. (shrink)
This case study focuses on Roger Boisjoly's attempt to prevent the launch of the Challenger and subsequent quest to set the record straight despite negative consequences. Boisjoly's experiences before and after the Challenger disaster raise numerous ethical issues that are integral to any explanation of the disaster and applicable to other management situations. Underlying all these issues, however, is the problematic relationship between individual and organizational responsibility. In analyzing this fundamental issue, this paper has two objectives: first, to demonstrate (...) the extent to which the ethical ambiguity that permeates the relationship between individual and organizational responsibility contributed to the Challenger disaster; second, to reclaim the meaning and importance of individual responsibility within the diluting context of large organizations. (shrink)
The so-called Direct Argument for the incompatibility of moral responsibility and causal determinism depends on a rule of inference called Rule A, a rule that says no one is even partly morally responsible for a necessary truth. While most philosophers think that Rule A is valid, Stephen Kearns has recently offered several alleged counterexamples to the rule. In the paper, I show that Kearns’ counterexamples are unsuccessful.
Most philosophers who study moral responsibility have done so in isolation of the concept of truth. Here, I show that thinking about the nature of truth has profound consequences for discussions of moral responsibility. In particular, by focusing on the very trivial nature of truth—that truth depends on the world and not the other way around—we can see that widely accepted counterexamples to one of the most influential incompatibilist arguments can be shown not only to be false, but also impossible.
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