This morning I intended to get out of bed when my alarm went off. Hearing my alarm, I formed the intention to get up now. Yet, for a time, I remained in bed, irrationally lazy. It seems I irrationally failed to execute my intention. Such cases of execution failure pose a challenge for Mentalists about rationality, who believe that facts about rationality supervene on facts about the mind. For, this morning, my mind was in order; it was my action that (...) apparently made me irrational. What, then, should Mentalists say about the phenomenon of execution failure? The phenomenon of execution failure, and the puzzle it raises for Mentalists, have rarely been discussed. This paper addresses the puzzle in two parts. First, it argues that execution failure is a real phenomenon. It is possible for agents to irrationally fail to act on their present-directed intentions. It follows that Mentalists in the philosophy of action must solve the puzzle of explaining what is irrational about cases of execution failure. Second, this paper begins the search for such a solution. It considers six possible resolutions to the puzzle, arguing that none is obviously the most attractive. These resolutions include a requirement of overall conative consistency, an appeal to the norm of intention consistency, a form of Volitionalism, an appeal to factive mental states, and a proposal due to Garrett Cullity, and a novel requirement of proper functioning. (shrink)
If the universe and God are identical, as pantheism holds, how can we reconcile the supposed unity of God with the apparent dis-unity of the universe’s elements? I argue that a powers ontology, which generates a form of pantheism under plausible assumptions, is apt to solve the problem of unity. There is reason to think that the directedness of powers is equivalent to the directedness, or intentionality, of mental states. This implies that intentionality is a feature of the physical world (...) at large, not just the mind. As Pfeifer argues, this physical intentionality represents a mild form of panpsychism that is interpretable as a brand of pantheism. I argue that the theory of powers holism explains the unity of the universe’s elements and thus the unity of a pantheistic God, and that powers holism is strengthened by fully recognizing the role of physical intentionality. (shrink)
Coming from Hubert Dreyfus’ recent book ‘‘Retrieving Realism”, the paper presents embodied pre-conceptual perception and representational cognition as two contrasting perspectives on accessing the world. It further characterises the ‘different forms of knowledge emerging from these perspectives and how they dynamically relate to each other. Taking up the Peircean theory of signs and abductive reasoning as methods of discovery, computers are analysed as semiotic machines that formally model and objectify explicit knowledge about social practices and that can be embedded in (...) the sign processes of thereby restructured practices. This practice theoretical perspective allows for both, understanding the limits of AI and pointing to options for productively combining the performance of ‘‘cognitive artifacts” with the tacit skills of knowledge workers. (shrink)
In this paper, we address the question of how an agent can guide its behavior with respect to aspects of the sociomaterial environment that are not sensorily present. A simple example is how an animal can relate to a food source while only sensing a pheromone, or how an agent can relate to beer, while only the refrigerator is directly sensorily present. Certain cases in which something is absent have been characterized by others as requiring ‘higher’ cognition. An example of (...) this is how during the design process architects can let themselves be guided by the future behavior of visitors to an exhibit they are planning. The main question is what the sociomaterial environment and the skilled agent are like, such that they can relate to each other in these ways. We argue that this requires an account of the regularities in the environment. Introducing the notion of general ecological information, we will give an account of these regularities in terms of constraints, information and the form of life or ecological niche. In the first part of the paper, we will introduce the skilled intentionality framework as conceptualizing a special case of an animal’s informational coupling with the environment namely skilled action. We will show how skilled agents can pick up on the regularities in the environment and let their behavior be guided by the practices in the form of life. This conceptual framework is important for radical embodied and enactive cognitive science, because it allows these increasingly influential paradigms to extend their reach to forms of ‘higher’ cognition such as long-term planning and imagination. (shrink)
In a series of works Ernest Sosa (see Sosa 1991, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2015, 2017) has defended the view that there are two kinds or ‘grades’ of knowledge, animal and reflective. One of the most persistent critics of Sosa’s attempts to bifurcate knowledge is Hilary Kornblith (see Kornblith 2004, 2009, 2012). Our aim in this paper is to outline and evaluate Kornblith’s criticisms. We will argue that, while they raise a range of difficult (exegetical and substantive) questions about Sosa’s (...) ‘bi-level’ epistemology, Sosa has the resources to adequately respond to all of them. Thus, this paper is a (qualified) defence of Sosa’s bi-level epistemology. (shrink)
Reductive intellectualists about knowledge-how hold, contra Ryle, that knowing how to do something is just a kind of propositional knowledge. In a similar vein, traditional reductivists about understanding-why insist, in accordance with a tradition beginning with Aristotle, that the epistemic standing one attains when one understands why something is so is itself just a kind of propositional knowledge—viz., propositional knowledge of causes. A point that has been granted on both sides of these debates is that if these reductive proposals are (...) right, then knowledge-how and understandingwhy should be susceptible to the same extent as knowledge-that is to being undermined by epistemic luck. This paper reports experimental results that test these luck-based predictions. Interestingly, these results suggest a striking positive correlation between self-reported philosophical expertise and attributions of knowledge-how, understanding-why and knowledge-that which run contrary to reductive proposals. We contextualize these results by showing how they align very well with a particular kind of overarching non-reductive proposal, one that two of the authors have defended elsewhere according to which knowledge-how and understanding-why, but not knowledge-that, essentially involve cognitive achievement. We conclude by situating the interpretive narrative advanced within contemporary discussions about the role of expertise in philosophical judgment. (shrink)
Jennifer Hornsby has defended the Reasons-Knowledge Thesis (RKT): the claim that Φ-ing because p requires knowing that p, where the `because' at issue is a rationalising `because'. She defends (RKT) by appeal to the thought that it provides the best explanation of why the subject in a certain sort of Gettier Case fails to be in a position to Φ because p. Dustin Locke and, separately, Nick Hughes, present some modified barn-façade cases which (a) seem to constitute counterexamples to (RKT) (...) and (b) undermine Hornsby's way of motivating it by rendering their alternative Reasons-Explanation Thesis (RET) a better explanation of Hornsby's datum. This paper defends (RKT) and Hornsby's argument for it against those objections. First, I point out that their supposedly intuitive verdict about the relevant barn-façade cases is not as intuitive as they think. Second, I point out that even if we share the intuition: we have strong reason to doubt the verdict anyway. And finally I point out that since (RET) is independently implausible, the two problems can be tackled anyway. (shrink)
This article reconsiders the relationship between interpretivism about belief and normative standards. Interpretivists have traditionally taken beliefs (and thus veridicality conditions for belief attribution) to be fixed in relation to norms of interpretation. However, recent work by philosophers and psychologists reveals that human belief attribution practices are governed by a rich diversity of normative standards. Interpretivists thus face a dilemma: either give up on the idea that belief is constitutively normative or countenance a context-sensitive disjunction of norms that constitute belief. (...) Either way, interpretivists should embrace the intersubjective indeterminacy of belief. (shrink)
The objective of this paper is to articulate a distinction between habit and bodily skill as different ways of acting without deliberation. I start by elaborating on a distinction between habit and skill as different kinds of dispositions. Then I argue that this distinction has direct implications for the varieties of automaticity exhibited in habitual and skilful bodily acts. The argument suggests that paying close attention to the metaphysics of agency can help to articulate more precisely questions regarding the varieties (...) of automaticity exhibited in overt action. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that the almost forgotten early dissertation of the phenomenologist Hans Reiner Freiheit, Wollen und Aktivität. Phänomenologische Untersuchungen in Richtung auf das Problem der Willensfreiheit engages with what I call the unity problem of activity. This problem concerns the question whether there is a structure in virtue of which all instances of human activity—and not only “full-blown” intentional actions—can be unified. After a brief systematic elucidation of this problem, which is closely related to the contemporary “problem (...) of action,” I elaborate and critically discuss two relevant threads running through Reiner’s work. The first view concerns the alleged motivational asymmetry between activity and passivity according to which it is essential only for active experiences to be motivated by an underlying passivity. The second view focuses on Reiner’s phenomenology of the will, especially on his notions of “ego-centrality” and “inner will” the latter being introduced in analogy to Brentano’s notion of “inner consciousness.” These two notions are supposed to unify all manifestations of the human will, including “full-blown” intentional actions and non-intentional doings such as laughter. Reiner’s extension of will-based actions to non-intentional activity is one of the most remarkable aspects of his early work. Finally, I show that Reiner ultimately answers the unity problem in the negative because he ends up with the view that besides will-based agency he also acknowledges so-called “motor activity” which is not intrinsically related to the will. I close with a couple of tentative proposals how volitional and motor actions might be unified nonetheless. (shrink)
What does it mean for an actor to empathize with the character she is playing? We review different theories of empathy and of acting. We then consider the notion of “twofoldness”, which has been used to characterize the observer or audience perspective on the relation between actor and character. This same kind of twofoldness or double attunement applies from the perspective of the actor herself who must, at certain points of preparation, distinguish between the character portrayed and her own portrayal (...) effected in her craft. We argue that this concept helps us to understand how the actor can empathize with her character. For the actor who must study and rehearse her character, empathy may begin with higher-order processes that provide a contextualized understanding of the character. This understanding eventually integrates with more basic empathic processes in her actual performance. (shrink)
Many powers metaphysicians postulate both active and passive powers, understood as distinct kinds of intrinsic causal properties of objects. I argue that the category of passive power is superfluous. I also offer a diagnosis of how philosophers are misled to postulate passive powers.
How engineers know, and act on that knowledge, has a profound impact on society. Consequently, the analysis of engineering knowledge is one of the central challenges for the philosophy of engineering. In this article, we present a thematic multidisciplinary conceptual survey of engineering epistemology and identify key areas of research that are still to be comprehensively investigated. Themes are organized based on a survey of engineering epistemology including research from history, sociology, philosophy, design theory, and engineering itself. Five major interrelated (...) themes are identified: the relationship between scientific and engineering knowledge, engineering knowledge as a distinct field of study, the social epistemology of engineering, the relationship between engineering knowledge and its products, and the cognitive aspects of engineering knowledge. We discuss areas of potential future research that are underdeveloped or “undone.”. (shrink)
A number of metaphysicians of powers have argued that we need to distinguish the actualization of a power from the effects of that actualization. This distinction, I argue, has important consequences for the dispositional theory of belief. In particular, it suggests that dispositionalists have in effect been trying to define belief, not in terms of its actualization, but instead in terms of the effects of its actualization. As a general rule, however, powers are to be defined in terms of their (...) actualizations. I thus argue that belief has just one actualization, and that that actualization is a particular kind of mental act that I call a judgment. I explain the resulting view—that belief is the power to judge—and argue that it has some important advantages, not only over other dispositional theories of belief, but also over categorical theories of belief. Since these options are apparently exhaustive, it thus has important advantages over all other theories of belief. (shrink)
The nature of attention has been the topic of a lively research programme in psychology for over a century. But there is widespread agreement that none of the theories on offer manage to fully capture the nature of attention. Recently, philosophers have become interested in the debate again after a prolonged period of neglect. This paper contributes to the project of explaining the nature of attention. It starts off by critically examining Christopher Mole’s prominent “adverbial” account of attention, which traces (...) the failure of extant psychological theories to their assumption that attending is a kind of process. It then defends an alternative, process-based view of the metaphysics of attention, on which attention is understood as an activity and not, as psychologists seem to implicitly assume, an accomplishment. The entrenched distinction between accomplishments and activities is shown to shed new light on the metaphysics of attention. It also provides a novel diagnosis of the empirical state of play. (shrink)
Different notions of analysis have been both theorized and put to use in early analytic philosophy. Two of them stand out: connective analysis and analysis as paraphrase. The latter played a central role in the development of analytic philosophy from Frege to Quine and beyond. With the advent of formal semantics of natural language in the 1970s, paraphrase came to be characterizable as translation into a formal “target language”. While I claim that the method cannot achieve its original philosophical aims, (...) I insist that, in spite of them, it is far from being a theoretically empty operation and that it lives on in some contemporary philosophical enterprises. (shrink)
This paper examines the methodological claim made famous by P.F. Strawson: that we understand what features are required for responsible agency by exploring our attitudes and practices of holding responsible. What is the presumed metaphysical connection between holding responsible and being fit to be held responsible that makes this claim credible? I propose a non-standard answer to this question, arguing for a view of responsible agency that is neither anti-realist (i.e. purely 'conventionalist') nor straightforwardly realist. It is instead ‘constructivist’. On (...) the ‘Scaffolding View’ I defend, reactive attitudes play an essential role in developing, supporting, and thereby maintaining the capacities that make for responsible agency. While this view has relatively novel implications for a metaphysical understanding of capacities, its chief virtue, in contrast with more standard views, is providing a plausibly defensible account of how so-called responsible agents genuinely deserve to be treated as such. (shrink)
In The Concept of Mind, Gilbert Ryle argued that a more sophisticated understanding of the dispositional nature of ‘intelligent capacities’ could bolster philosophical resistance to the tempting view that the human mind is possessed of metaphysically ‘occult’ powers and properties. This temptation is powerful in the context of accounting for the special qualities of responsible agency. Incompatibilists indulge the temptation; compatibilists resist it, using a variety of strategies. One recent strategy, reminiscent of Ryle’s, is to exploit a more sophisticated understanding (...) of dispositional properties to account for these qualities. But ‘new dispositionalists’ run up against a ‘hard problem’ that threatens the approach. This paper argues that the threat may be averted by embracing a yet more radical ‘Rylean’ view of the distinctive dispositional nature of ‘intelligent capacities’. (shrink)
This article offers an account of moods as distinctive kinds of personal level affective-evaluative states, which are both intentional and rationally intelligible in specific ways. The account contrasts with those who claim moods are non-intentional, and so also arational. Section 1 provides a conception of intentionality and distinguishes moods, as occurrent experiential states, from other states in the affective domain. Section 2 argues moods target the subject’s total environment presented in a specific evaluative light through felt valenced attitudes (the Mood-Intentionality (...) thesis). Section 3 argues some moods are experienced as rationally intelligible responses, and so epistemically appropriate, to the way ‘the world’ presents itself (the Mood-Intelligibility thesis). Finally, section 4 discusses the epistemology of moods. (shrink)
We identify a normative paradox of responsible management education. Business educators aim to promote social values and develop ethical habits and socially responsible mindsets through education, but they attempt to do so with theories that have normative underpinnings and create actual normative effects that counteract their intentions. We identify a limited conceptualization of freedom in economic theorizing as a cause of the paradox. Economic theory emphasizes individual freedom and understands this as the freedom to choose from available options. However, conceptualizing (...) individuals as profit-maximizing actors neglects their freedom to reflect on the purposes and goals of their actions. We build on the work of pragmatist philosopher John Dewey, who distinguishes between habitualized and creative problem-solving behaviors, conceptualizes knowledge construction as a process of interdependent scientific social inquiry, and understands actors as having the freedom to determine what kind of people they wish to be. We apply pragmatist theory to business education and suggest equipping students with a plurality of theories, supplementing neoclassical economics with other economic perspectives and views from other disciplines on economic behavior. Moreover, we suggest putting students into learning situations that require practical problem solution through interdependent social inquiry, encouraging ethical reflection. In doing so, we contribute by linking the problematic conceptions of freedom identified in economic theorizing to the debate on responsible management education. We conceptualize a pragmatist approach to management education that explicitly re-integrates the freedom to discursively reflect on the individual and societal purpose of business activity and thereby makes existing tools and pedagogies useful for bringing potential freedom back into business. (shrink)
Intellectualists about knowledge how argue that knowing how to do something is knowing the content of a proposition (i.e, a fact). An important component of this view is the idea that propositional knowledge is translated into behavior when it is presented to the mind in a peculiarly practical way. Until recently, however, intellectualists have not said much about what it means for propositional knowledge to be entertained under thought's practical guise. Carlotta Pavese fills this gap in the intellectualist view by (...) modeling practical modes of thought after Fregean senses. In this paper, I take up her model and the presuppositions it is built upon, arguing that her view of practical thought is not positioned to account for much of what human agents are able to do. (shrink)
Are we entering a major new phase of modern science, one in which our standard, human modes of reasoning and understanding, including heuristics, have decreasing value? The new methods challenge human intelligibility. The digital revolution inspires such claims, but they are not new. During several historical periods, scientific progress has challenged traditional concepts of reasoning and rationality, intelligence and intelligibility, explanation and knowledge. The increasing intelligence of machine learning and networking is a deliberately sought, somewhat alien intelligence. As such, it (...) challenges the traditional, heuristic foresight of expert researchers. Nonetheless, science remains human-centered in important ways—and yet many of our ordinary human epistemic activities are alien to ourselves. This fact has always been the source of “the discovery problem”. It generalizes to the problem of understanding expert scientific practice. Ironically, scientific progress plunges us ever deeper into complexities beyond our grasp. But how is progress possible without traditional realism and the intelligibility realism requires? Pragmatic flexibility offers an answer. (shrink)
The practices of the arts—plastic and performing—deal in direct sensorial engagement with the body, with materiality, with artifacts and tools, with spaces, and with other people. The arts are centrally concerned with intelligent doing. Conventional explanations of the cognitive dimensions of arts practices have been unsatisfying because internalist paradigms provides few useful tools to discuss embodied dimensions of cognition.
Cognition is not, and could not possibly be, entirely representational in character. There is also a phenomenal form of cognitive expression that registers the intrinsic properties of mental states themselves. Arguments against the reality of this intrinsic phenomenal dimension to mental experience have focused either on its supposed impossibility, or secondly, the non-appearance of any such qualities to introspection. This paper argues to the contrary, that the registration of cognitive state properties does take place independently of representational content; and necessarily (...) so, since it supports an independent function—self-management. Given the fact that unlike a computer, the brain must, of necessity, operate itself, it needs to be in touch with itself to do so. Intrinsic phenomenal forms of cognitive expression allow the brain to do just that by registering characteristics of the cognitive states themselves. Self-management might well prove to constitute the prime reason for the emergence of subjectivity itself. (shrink)
The acquaintance debate in aesthetics has been traditionally divided between pessimists, who argue that testimony does not provide others with aesthetic knowledge of artworks, and optimists, who hold that acquaintance with an artwork is not a necessary precondition for acquiring aesthetic knowledge. In this paper I propose a reconciliationist solution to the acquaintance debate: while aesthetic knowledge can be had via testimony, aesthetic judgment requires acquaintance with the artwork. I develop this solution by situating it within a virtue aesthetics framework (...) based on Ernest Sosa's virtue epistemology. I go on to apply the solution to the debates on moral testimony and expert testimony. An interesting variant on Gettier cases emerges: cases in which subjects have knowledge, but it has been formed by the wrong competence. (shrink)
This article addresses a question still frequently posed in the context of UK universities which offer courses in the visual arts: Does the PhD research model of contributing new knowledge fit art, where there are no definitive answers and the main strength of the research is its ability to question?, answering in the positive by distinguishing between propositional knowledge and understanding. It acknowledges the range of work already published on this topic and distils an aesthetic cognitivist position from which the (...) visual arts are construed as powerful means of deepening our understanding, a source of non-propositional knowledge on a par with, although qualitatively different from, the way that the sciences are construed as the means to propositional knowledge. The distinguishing feature of the article is its attempt to provide a relatively concise overview of the background and structure of the case for the inclusivity of research through visual arts practices at doctoral level in the universities, b... (shrink)
Truthmaker theory has been used to argue for substantial conclusions about the categorial structure of the world, in particular that states of affairs are needed to play the role of truthmakers. In this paper, I argue that closely considering the role of aboutness in truthmaking, that is considering what truthbearers are about, yields the result that there is no good truthmaker-based reason to think that truthmakers must be states of affairs understood as existing entities, whether complex or simple. First, I (...) introduce an aboutness-based account of truthmaking as a metaphysically modest alternative to the orthodox necessitarian account of truthmaking. Second, I discuss the distinction between states and events that has been made on the basis of linguistic evidence regarding aspectual markers and nominalisation. I argue that the modest approach to truthmaking allows us to accept that there is a real distinction between states and events without requiring that the distinction is ontologically substantial. Specifically, what we are talking about with state-truthbearers really differs from what we are talking about with event-truthbearers, but this difference need not be understood as a difference in kinds of entities. Because of its overall modesty, this is a theoretically virtuous result. (shrink)
I propose a new model of implicit bias, according to which implicit biases are constituted by unconscious imaginings. I begin by endorsing a principle of parsimony when confronted with unfamiliar phenomena. I introduce implicit bias in terms congenial to what most philosophers and psychologists have said about their nature in the literature so far, before moving to a discussion of the doxastic model of implicit bias and objections to it. I then introduce unconscious imagination and argue that appeal to it (...) does not represent a departure from a standard view of imagination, before outlining my model and showing how it accommodates characteristic features of implicit bias. I argue for its advantages over the doxastic model: it does not violate the parsimony principle, it does not face any of the objections so far raised to doxasticism, and it can accommodate the heterogeneity in the category of implicit bias. Finally, I address whether my view limits our ability to hold people accountable for their biases (it does not), and whether it is consistent with what we know about intervention strategies (it is). I conclude that implicit biases are constituted by unconscious imaginings. (shrink)
Despite their recent development, geo-ontologies represent a complicated conundrum for the different experts involved in their design. Computer scientists use ontologies for describing the meaning of data and their semantics in order to make information resources built for humans understandable also for artificial agents. Geographers pursue conceptualizations that describe the domain of interest in a way that should be accessible, informative, and complete for their final recipients. In this context, philosophers are not required to sketch the historical background of ontology. (...) Rather, they should offer conceptual solutions for carving nature at the joints and choosing how best to categorize and classify the different entities belonging to the geographical domain in question. Accordingly, the aim of this paper is to combine assumptions and requirements coming from these different areas of research in order to show what different categories might potentially complete the current domain of geo-ontologies. (shrink)
I advance a variety of intellectualism about knowing-how that is, paradoxically, suggested by Ryle's positive discussions of that phenomenon. I discuss the roots of the view in Ryle's work, its affinity with John Hyman's () view of factual knowledge, and important points of contrast with Stanley and Williamson's () proposal. Drawing on work by Cath () and Wiggins () I also discuss conditions on knowing practically, in ‘the executive way’, as an alternative to appealing to practical modes of presentation.
Here I defend dispositionalism about meaning and rule-following from Kripkenstein's infamous anti-dispositionalist arguments. The problems of finitude, error, and normativity are all addressed. The general lesson I draw is that Kripkenstein's arguments trade on an overly simplistic version of dispositionalism.
A satisfactory account of the nature of health is important for a wide range of theoretical and practical reasons. No theory offered in the literature thus far has been able to meet all the desiderata for an adequate theory of health. This paper introduces a new theory of health, according to which health is best defined in terms of dispositions at the level of the organism as a whole. After outlining the main features of the account and providing formal definitions (...) of ‘health’, ‘healthy’, and ‘healthier than’, I present the main strengths of the proposed account. I argue that the proposed dispositional theory accounts for all paradigm cases of health and pathology, that it circumvents a number of problems faced by rival theories, and that it makes for a naturalistic theory of health with a rigorous metaphysical underpinning. (shrink)
Recently, it has been objected that naïve realism is inconsistent with an empirically well-supported claim that mental states of the same fundamental kind as ordinary conscious seeing can occur unconsciously (SFK). The main aim of this paper is to establish the following conditional claim: if SFK turns out to be true, the naïve realist can and should accommodate it into her theory. Regarding the antecedent of this conditional, I suggest that empirical evidence renders SFK plausible but not obvious. For it (...) is possible that what is currently advocated as unconscious perception of the stimulus is in fact momentaneous perceptual awareness (or residual perceptual awareness) of the stimulus making the subject prone to judge in some way rather than another, or to act in some way rather than another. As to the apodosis, I show that neither the core of naïve realism nor any of its main motivations is undermined if SFK is assumed. On the contrary, certain incentives for endorsing naïve realism become more tempting on this assumption. Since the main motivations for naïve realism retain force under SFK, intentionalism is neither compulsory nor the best available explanation of unconscious perception. (shrink)
In this essay, I respond to the critical remarks of Louise Barrett, Amanda Corris and Anthony Chemero, and Daniel Hutto on my book Enactivist Interventions. In doing so, I consider whether behaviorism can make a contribution to enactivist theory, whether synergies are the same as dynamical gestalts, and whether the brain can add anything to mathematical reasoning.
The artefactual environment is not just the passive, inert background against which the drama of human and non-human animal life plays out; but rather, the built environment plays an active role in the structure of agency. This is an insight that Lambros Malafouris has articulated in his framework of Material Engagement Theory. I will discuss the enactive-embodied and dynamic approaches to cognition and action, emphasizing the ways that this approach leads to taking MET seriously by force of its own theoretical (...) commitments. That is, material engagement is a natural development of these models of mind, specified to the particularities of the human historical situation. I will then discuss Theiner and Drain’s critique of HMA, in which they argue that we should replace material agency with materially-scaffolded agency. Scaffolded agency, however, is too weak of a conception of how material culture shapes agency, and is a notion continues to privilege the sense of agency as a mark of what genuinely constitutes agency proper. Drawing on Steward I propose a definition of material agency that emphasizes the idea that agency is a process, and I suggest that material agency is better captured by the phenomenological experience of flow. This phenomenological understanding of material agency both responds to Theiner & Drain’s critique, and emphasizes the importance of investigating material culture phenomenologically. (shrink)
According to what I call the ‘Vagueness Thesis’ about belief, ‘believes’ is a vague predicate. On this view, our concept of belief admits of borderline cases: one can ‘half-believe’ something or be ‘in-between believing’ it. In this article, I argue that VT is false and present an alternative picture of belief. I begin by considering a case—held up as a central example of vague belief—in which someone sincerely claims something to be true and yet behaves in a variety of other (...) ways as if she believes that it is not. I argue that, even from the third-person perspective prioritised by proponents of VT, the case does not motivate VT. I present an alternative understanding of the case according to which the person in question believes as they say they do yet also has a belief-discordant implicit attitude otherwise. Moreover, I argue that, independently of the interpretation of any particular case, VT fails to accommodate the first-person perspective on belief. Belief is not only an item of one’s psychology that helps explain one’s behaviour; it is what one takes to be true. This fact about belief manifests itself in the nature of deliberation concerning whether to believe something and that of introspection regarding whether one believes something. Attending to these phenomena reveals that VT is not merely unmotivated, but untenable. (shrink)
Looking back on the development of computer technology, particularly in the context of manufacturing, we can distinguish three big waves of technological exuberance with a wave length of roughly 30 years: In the first wave, during the 1950s, mainframe computers at that time were conceptualized as “electronic brains” and envisaged as central control unit of an “automatic factory”. Thirty years later, during the 1980s, knowledge-based systems in computer-integrated manufacturing were adored as the computational core of the “unmanned factory”. Both waves (...) dismally stranded on the contumacies of reality. Nevertheless, again thirty years later, we now experience the departure of the “smart factory” based on networks of “artificially intelligent” multi-agent or “cyber-physical systems”. From the very beginning, these technological exuberances rooted in mistaken metaphors describing the artifacts and, hence, in delusions about the true nature of computer systems. The behaviour of computers is, as computing science teaches us, strictly restrained to executing computable functions by means of algorithms, it thus neither resembles the performance of a brain as part of a complex sensitive living body nor is it in any meaningful sense “knowledgeable” or “intelligent”. When the delusion of being able to implement “smart factories”, despite the countless accomplishment failures before, gains momentum anew, it appears absolutely essential to reflect on underlying misconceptions. (shrink)
While notions of spirituality, spiritual experience and spiritual development seem much neglected in the literature of modern analytical philosophy, such terminology continues to be current in both common usage and religious contexts. This author has previously taken issue with some recent attempts to develop conceptions of spirituality and spiritual experience as substantially independent of religious attachment. Notwithstanding this, the present paper considers whether such a ‘religiously-untethered’ notion of spirituality, spiritual experience or sensibility might yet be sustainable in terms of two (...) key criteria: as a capacity for non-instrumental perspectives on, or interpretations of, the world of ordinary experience; and as a corresponding capacity to identify goals and values that transcend or are not reducible to the meeting of immediate natural or material—either individual or social—needs. (shrink)
This paper investigates the complicated relations between various versions of naturalism, behaviorism, and mentalism within the framework of W. V. O. Quine's thinking. It begins with Roger Gibson's reconstruction of Quine's behaviorisms and argues that it lacks a crucial ontological element and misconstrues the relation between philosophy and science. After getting clear of Quine's naturalism, the paper distinguishes between evidential, methodological, and ontological behaviorisms. The evidential and methodological versions are often conflated, but they need to be clearly distinguished in order (...) to see whether Quine's argument against mentalism is cogent. The paper argues that Quine's naturalism supports only the weakest version of behaviorism, that is, the evidential one, but this version is compatible with mentalistic semantics. Quine's opposition to mentalism is an overreaction from the behaviorist camp. By contrast, Jerry Fodor's objection to Jose Luis Bermudez is an overreaction from the opposite direction. (shrink)
According to Bem’s self-perception theory, people know their own minds in the same way that they know those of others: they infer their own minds by observing their own behavior and the circumstances in which this behavior takes place. Although Bem’s theory seems anti-introspectionistic, it claims that people infer their minds by observing their own behavior only when internal cues are weak, ambiguous, or un-interpretable. This has led some to argue that Bem does not rule out a priori introspective access (...) to the mind and thus introspection as a research method. This paper will discuss self-perception theory and its influence over recent research and will argue that introspection is not an autonomous research method. This is so because of its radical behavioristic outlook, according to which all methods and data of psychology must be public and not private. Then, the paper will discuss the epistemological implications of this behavioristic attitude on psychology. Finally, it will argue in favor of introspection as an autonomous research method and an independent source of data for psychology. (shrink)
This paper focuses on Horwich's metaphilosophical interpretation of Wittgenstein. Specifically, it focuses on Horwich's charge that all philosophy is irrational. First, I coordinate the various aspects of Horwich's metaphilosophical program to make sense of his charge of irrationality against philosophy. Second, I argue that this metaphilosophical program misfires in two distinct ways. However, third, I close by calling attention to what I posit to be a critical insight of Horwich's account.
There has been considerable debate in the literature as to whether work in experimental philosophy actually makes any significant contribution to philosophy. One stated view is that many X-Phi projects, notwithstanding their focus on topics relevant to philosophy, contribute little to philosophical thought. Instead, it has been claimed the contribution they make appears to be to cognitive science. In contrast to this view, here we argue that at least one approach to X-Phi makes a contribution which parallels, and also extends, (...) historically salient forms of philosophical analysis, especially contributions from Immanuel Kant, William James, Peter F. Strawson and Thomas Nagel. The framework elaborated here synthesizes philosophical theory with empirical evidence from psychology and neuroscience and applies it to three perennial philosophical problems. According to this account, the origin of these three problems can be illuminated by viewing them as arising from a tension between two distinct types of cognition, each of which is associated with anatomically independent and functionally inhibitory neural networks. If the parallel we draw, between an empirical project and historically highly influential examples of philosophical analysis, is viewed as convincing, it follows that work in the cognitive sciences can contribute directly to philosophy. Further, this conclusion holds whether the empirical details of the account are correct or not. (shrink)
Within analytic philosophy, induction has been seen as a problem concerning inferences that have been analysed as relations between sentences. In this article, we argue that induction does not primarily concern relations between sentences, but between properties and categories. We outline a new approach to induction that is based on two theses. The first thesis is epistemological. We submit that there is not only knowledge-how and knowledge-that, but also knowledge-what. Knowledge-what concerns relations between properties and categories and we argue that (...) it cannot be reduced to knowledge-that. We support the partition of knowledge by mapping it onto the long-term memory systems: procedural, semantic and episodic memory. The second thesis is that the role of inductive reasoning is to generate knowledge-what. We use conceptual spaces to model knowledge-what and the relations between properties and categories involved in induction. (shrink)