That holobionts are units of selection squares poorly with the observation that microbes are often recruited from the environment, not passed down vertically from parent to offspring, as required for collective reproduction. The taxonomic makeup of a holobiont’s microbial community may vary over its lifetime and differ from that of conspecifics. In contrast, biochemical functions of the microbiota and contributions to host biology are more conserved, with taxonomically variable but functionally similar microbes recurring across generations and hosts. To save what (...) is of interest in holobiont thinking, we propose casting metabolic and developmental interaction patterns, rather than the taxa responsible for them, as units of selection. Such units need not directly reproduce or form parent-offspring lineages: their prior existence has created the conditions under which taxa with the genes necessary to carry out their steps have evolved in large numbers. These taxa or genes will reconstruct the original interaction patterns when favorable conditions occur. Interaction patterns will vary in ways that affect the likelihood of and circumstances under which such reconstruction occurs. Thus, they vary in fitness, and evolution by natural selection will occur at this level. It is on the persistence, reconstruction, and spread of such interaction patterns that students of holobiosis should concentrate, we suggest. This model also addresses other multi-species collectively beneficial interactions, such as biofilms or biogeochemical cycles maintaining all life. (shrink)
To be a doxastic deontologist is to claim that there is such a thing as an ethics of belief (or of our doxastic attitudes in general). In other words, that we are subject to certain duties with respect to our doxastic attitudes, the non-compliance with which makes us blameworthy and that we should understand doxastic justification in terms of these duties. In this paper, I argue that these duties are our all things considered duties, and not our epistemic or moral (...) duties, for example. I show how this has the surprising result that, if deontologism is a thesis about doxastic justification, it entails that there is no such thing as epistemic or moral justification for a belief that p. I then suggest why this result, though controversial, may have some salutary consequences: primarily that it helps us make some sense of an otherwise puzzling situation regarding doxastic dilemmas. -/- . (shrink)
A recent development in biology has been the growing acceptance that holobionts, entities comprised of symbiotic microbes and their host organisms, are widespread in nature. There is agreement that holobionts are evolved outcomes, but disagreement on how to characterize the operation of natural selection on them. The aim of this paper is to articulate the contours of the disagreement. I explain how two distinct foundational accounts of the process of natural selection give rise to competing views about evolutionary individuality.
What, according to proponents of doxastic deontologism, is responsible belief? In this paper, we examine two proposals. Firstly, that responsible belief is blameless belief (a position we call DDB) and, secondly, that responsible belief is praiseworthy belief (a position we call DDP). We consider whether recent arguments in favor of DDP, mostly those recently offered by Brian Weatherson, stand up to scrutiny and argue that they do not. Given other considerations in favor of DDP, we conclude that the deontologist should (...) maintain that doxastic responsibility is a concept about freedom from appropriate blame. (shrink)
After a number of decades of research into the dynamics of rational belief, the belief revision theory community remains split on the appropriate handling of sequences of changes in view, the issue of so-called iterated revision. It has long been suggested that the matter is at least partly settled by facts pertaining to the results of various single revisions of one’s initial state of belief. Recent work has pushed this thesis further, offering various strong principles that ultimately result in a (...) wholesale reduction of iterated to one-shot revision. The present paper offers grounds to hold that these principles should be significantly weakened and that the reductionist thesis should ultimately be rejected. Furthermore, the considerations provided suggest a close connection between the logic of iterated belief change and the logic of evidential relevance. (shrink)
We report an experiment investigating the “special-process” theory of insight problem solving, which claims that insight arises from non-conscious, non-reportable processes that enable problem re-structuring. We predicted that reducing opportunities for speech-based processing during insight problem solving should permit special processes to function more effectively and gain conscious awareness, thereby facilitating insight. We distracted speech-based processing by using either articulatory suppression or irrelevant speech, with findings for these conditions supporting the predicted insight facilitation effect relative to silent working or thinking (...) aloud. The latter condition was included to investigate the currently contested effect of “verbal overshadowing” on insight, whereby thinking aloud is claimed to hinder the operation of special, non-reportable processes. Whilst verbal overshadowing was not evident in final solution rates, there was nevertheless support for verbal overshadowing up to and beyond.. (shrink)
According to the doxastic compatibilist, compatibilist criteria with respect to the freedom of action rule-in our having free beliefs. In Booth (Philosophical Papers 38:1–12, 2009), I challenged the doxastic compatibilist to either come up with an account of how doxastic attitudes can be intentional in the face of it very much seeming to many of us that they cannot. Or else, in rejecting that doxastic attitudes need to be voluntary in order to be free, to come up with a principled (...) account of how her criteria of doxastic freedom are criteria of freedom. In two recent papers, Steup (Synthese 188:145–163, 2012; Dialectica 65(4):559–576, 2011) takes up the first disjunct of the challenge by proposing that even though beliefs cannot be practically intentional, they can be epistemically intentional. McHugh (McHugh forthcoming) instead takes up the second disjunct by proposing that the freedom of belief be modelled not on the freedom of action but on the freedom of intention. I argue that both Steup’s and McHugh’s strategies are problematic. (shrink)
In this paper I discuss two claims; the first is the claim that state-given reasons for belief are of a radically different kind to object-given reasons for belief. The second is that, where this last claim is true, epistemic reasons are object-given reasons for belief (EOG). I argue that EOG has two implausible consequences: (i) that suspension of judgement can never be epistemically justified, and (ii) that the reason that epistemically justifies a belief that p can never be the reason (...) for which one believes that p. (shrink)
This paper provides a defence of the thesis that responsible belief is permissible rather than obliged belief. On the Uniqueness Thesis (UT), our evidence is always such that there is a unique doxastic attitude that we are obliged to have given that evidence, whereas the Permissibility Thesis (PT) denies this. After distinguishing several varieties of UT and PT, we argue that the main arguments that have been levied against PT fail. Next, two arguments in favour of PT are provided. Finally, (...) two motivations for PT are put forward by showing that PT is entailed by two views that are quite popular among theorists working on doxastic responsibility. If the arguments in this paper are successful, we not only have good reasons to prefer PT over UT, but also good reasons to think that the gap between the ways in which we are meant to normatively assess belief and action may not be as wide as has been thought. (shrink)
In men, high levels of endogenous testosterone (T) seem to encourage behavior intended to dominate other people. Sometimes dominant behavior is aggressive, its apparent intent being to inflict harm on another person, but often dominance is expressed nonaggressively. Sometimes dominant behavior takes the form of antisocial behavior, including rebellion against authority and law breaking. Measurement of T at a single point in time, presumably indicative of a man's basal T level, predicts many of these dominant or antisocial behaviors. T not (...) only affects behavior but also responds to it. The act of competing for dominant status affects male T levels in two ways. First, T rises in the face of a challenge, as if it were an anticipatory response to impending competition. Second, after the competition, T rises in winners and declines in losers. Thus, there is a reciprocity between T and dominance behavior, each affecting the other. We contrast a reciprocal model, in which T level is variable, acting as both a cause and effect of behavior, with a basal model, in which T level is assumed to be a persistent trait that influences behavior. An unusual data set on Air Force veterans, in which data were collected four times over a decade, enables us to compare the basal and reciprocal models as explanations for the relationship between T and divorce. We discuss sociological implications of these models. (shrink)
The debate between “Normativists” and “Teleologists” about the normativity of belief has been taken to hinge on the question of which of the two views best explains why it is that we cannot believe at will. Of course, this presupposes that there is an explanation to be had. Here, I argue that this supposition is unwarranted, that Doxastic Involuntarism is merely contingently true. I argue that this is made apparent when we consider that suspended judgement must be involuntary if belief (...) is, that suspended judgment is not a belief, and that the aim or norm of suspended judgement cannot be constitutive if suspended judgement is not a belief. (shrink)
Throughout the biological and biomedical sciences there is a growing need for, prescriptive ‘minimum information’ (MI) checklists specifying the key information to include when reporting experimental results are beginning to find favor with experimentalists, analysts, publishers and funders alike. Such checklists aim to ensure that methods, data, analyses and results are described to a level sufficient to support the unambiguous interpretation, sophisticated search, reanalysis and experimental corroboration and reuse of data sets, facilitating the extraction of maximum value from data sets (...) them. However, such ‘minimum information’ MI checklists are usually developed independently by groups working within representatives of particular biologically- or technologically-delineated domains. Consequently, an overview of the full range of checklists can be difficult to establish without intensive searching, and even tracking thetheir individual evolution of single checklists may be a non-trivial exercise. Checklists are also inevitably partially redundant when measured one against another, and where they overlap is far from straightforward. Furthermore, conflicts in scope and arbitrary decisions on wording and sub-structuring make integration difficult. This presents inhibit their use in combination. Overall, these issues present significant difficulties for the users of checklists, especially those in areas such as systems biology, who routinely combine information from multiple biological domains and technology platforms. To address all of the above, we present MIBBI (Minimum Information for Biological and Biomedical Investigations); a web-based communal resource for such checklists, designed to act as a ‘one-stop shop’ for those exploring the range of extant checklist projects, and to foster collaborative, integrative development and ultimately promote gradual integration of checklists. (shrink)
Darwiche and Pearl’s seminal 1997 article outlined a number of baseline principles for a logic of iterated belief revision. These principles, the DP postulates, have been supplemented in a number of alternative ways. Most suggestions have resulted in a form of ‘reductionism’ that identifies belief states with orderings of worlds. However, this position has recently been criticised as being unacceptably strong. Other proposals, such as the popular principle (P), aka ‘Independence’, characteristic of ‘admissible’ operators, remain commendably more modest. In this (...) paper, we supplement the DP postulates and (P) with a number of novel conditions. While the DP postulates constrain the relation between a prior and a posterior conditional belief set, our new principles notably govern the relation between two posterior conditional belief sets obtained from a common prior by different revisions. We show that operators from the resulting family, which subsumes both lexicographic and restrained revision, can be represented as relating belief states associated with a ‘proper ordinal interval’ (POI) assignment, a structure more fine-grained than a simple ordering of worlds. We close the paper by noting that these operators satisfy iterated versions of many AGM era postulates, including Superexpansion, that are not sound for admissible operators in general. (shrink)
I argue that the claim that epistemic ought is incommensurable is self-defeating. My argument, however, depends on the truth of the premise that there can be not only epistemic reasons for belief, but also non-epistemic reasons for belief. So I also provide some support for that claim.
Matthias Steup (Steup 2008) has recently argued that our doxastic attitudes are free by (i) drawing an analogy with compatibilism about freedom of action and (ii) denying that it is a necessary condition for believing at will that S's having an intention to believe that p can cause S to believe that p . In this paper, however, I argue that the strategies espoused in (i) and (ii) are incompatible.
Abstract (for the combined three Parts) This paper presents the simplest known theory of processes involved in a person’s unconscious and conscious achievements such as intending, perceiving, reacting and thinking. The basic principle is that an individual has mental states which possess quantitative causal powers and are susceptible to influences from other mental states. Mental performance discriminates the present level of a situational feature from its level in an individually acquired, multiple featured norm (exemplar, template, standard). The effect on output (...) of a moderate disparity between input and norm is scaled in a universal unit of discrimination (Weber’s fraction), with the norm’s level being zero. When one process converts separate sources of input into an output, their discriminative distances from norm are summated. Distinct processes converging on an output combine their discriminations from norm orthogonally. An output may be influenced by the constructs of other outputs as well as by inputs. Descriptive performance is the influence of one category of input on a verbal output. Reasoning is minimally the effect of one verbal process on another. In deeper mental processing, the influence on a response comes from a response construct modulating a description: this process gives the meaning to an emotion or a motive. Descriptive modulation of stimulation corresponds to a bodily sensation or other conceptualized percept. When an output is explained solely by sources of input, that response to the stimulation may be mediated unconsciously. Development of a person within physical and communal environments embodies such mental causation within material causation and acculturates that mind to social causation. (shrink)
Among mycologists, questions persist about what entities should be treated as the fundamental units of fungal populations. This article articulates a coherent view about populations of heterokaryotic fungi and the individuals that comprise them. Using Godfrey-Smith’s minimal concept of a Darwinian population, I argue that entities at two levels of the biological hierarchy satisfy the minimal concept in heterokaryotic fungi: mycelia and nuclei. I provide a preliminary answer to the question of how to understand the relation between these two populations. (...) This article contributes to discussions about the nature of biological individuality, organismality, and evolutionary transitions. (shrink)
Eukaryogenesis is widely viewed as an improbable evolutionary transition uniquely affecting the evolution of life on this planet. However, scientific and popular rhetoric extolling this event as a singularity lacks rigorous evidential and statistical support. Here, we question several of the usual claims about the specialness of eukaryogenesis, focusing on both eukaryogenesis as a process and its outcome, the eukaryotic cell. We argue in favor of four ideas. First, the criteria by which we judge eukaryogenesis to have required a genuinely (...) unlikely series of events 2 billion years in the making are being eroded by discoveries that fill in the gaps of the prokaryote:eukaryote “discontinuity.” Second, eukaryogenesis confronts evolutionary theory in ways not different from other evolutionary transitions in individuality; parallel systems can be found at several hierarchical levels. Third, identifying which of several complex cellular features confer on eukaryotes a putative richer evolutionary potential remains an area of speculation: various keys to success have been proposed and rejected over the five-decade history of research in this area. Fourth, and perhaps most importantly, it is difficult and may be impossible to eliminate eukaryocentric bias from the measures by which eukaryotes as a whole are judged to have achieved greater success than prokaryotes as a whole. Overall, we question whether premises of existing theories about the uniqueness of eukaryogenesis and the greater evolutionary potential of eukaryotes have been objectively formulated and whether, despite widespread acceptance that eukaryogenesis was “special,” any such notion has more than rhetorical value. (shrink)
Richard Foley has suggested that the search for a good theory of epistemic justification and the analysis of knowledge should be conceived of as two distinct projects. However, he has not offered much support for this claim, beyond highlighting certain salutary consequences it might have. In this paper, I offer some further support for Foley’s claim by offering an argument and a way to conceive the claim in a way that makes it as plausible as its denial, and thus levelling (...) the playing field. The burden of proof then lies with those who seek to deny Foley’s radical suggestion. (shrink)
In this paper I hope to demonstrate two different ways of interpreting the tenets of evidentialism and show why it is important to distinguish between them. These two ways correspond to those proposed by Feldman and Adler. Feldman’s way of interpreting evidentialism makes evidentialism a principle about epistemic justification, about what we ought to believe. Adler’s, on the other hand, makes evidentialism a principle about how we come to believe, what it is, broadly speaking, rational for us to believe. Having (...) identified this difference, I consider two complaints levied against evidentialism, namely what I call the threshold problem and what I call the availability problem, and hope to show that: only an independent, bracketed justification principle of evidentialism can deal with those problems; the rationality principle of evidentialism is not in fact independent from the justification principle; the rationality principle is hard to motivate; and that in the final analysis the argument for the justification principle depends on the rationality principle. I thus conclude that although it may be convenient for evidentialists to treat these two principles as independent, such an independence cannot be maintained. (shrink)
Chimpanzee language studies have generated much heated controversy, as Roger Fouts can attest from firsthand experience. Perhaps this is because language is usually considered to be what truly distinguishes humans from apes. If chimps can indeed be taught the rudiments of language, then the difference between them and us is not as great as we might have thought. It is a matter of degree rather than kind, a continuity, and our species is not so special after all. The advantage of (...) this continuity thesis, as Fouts has emphasized, is that it conforms to the general tenets of evolutionary theory, and fits well with the evidence from paleontology and genetics that suggests that apes and humans are close cousins. It also .. (shrink)
Suboptimality of decision making needs no explanation. High level accounts of suboptimality in diverse tasks cannot add up to a mechanistic theory of perceptual decision making. Mental processes operate on the contents of information brought by the experimenter and the participant to the task, not on the amount of information in the stimuli without regard to physical and social context.
In this paper I consider whether there can be such things as epistemic reasons for action. I consider three arguments to the contrary and argue that none are successful, being either somewhat question-begging or too strong by ruling out what most epistemologists think is a necessary feature of epistemic justification, namely the epistemic basing relation. I end by suggesting a "non-cognitivist" model of epistemic reasons that makes room for there being epistemic reasons for action and suggest that this model may (...) support moral realism. (shrink)
Proponents of semiotic arguments against the commodification of certain goods face the following challenge: formulate your argument such that it does not appeal to immoral consequences, nor is really an argument showing that we ought to reform the meaning we give to commodification. I here attempt to meet this challenge via appeal to the notion of what I call proto-on-a-par value. Under this construal, the semiotic argument yields that the commodification of certain goods necessarily signals value choice, where value choice (...) ought not to be signaled. (shrink)
Stephen Hetherington has defended the tripartite analysis of knowledge (Hetherington in Philos Q 48:453–469, 1998; J Philos 96:565–587, 1999; J Philos Res 26:307–324, 2001a; Good knowledge, bad knowledge, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2001b). His defence has recently come under attack (Madison in Australas J Philos 89(1):47–58, 2011; Turri in Synthese 183(3):247–259, 2012). I critically evaluate those attacks as well as Hetherington’s newest formulation of his defence (Hetherington in Philosophia 40(3):539–547, 2012b; How to know: A practicalist conception of knowledge, Wiley, Oxford, (...) 2011a; Ratio 24:176–191, 2011b; Synthese 188:217–230, 2012a). I argue that his newest formulation is vulnerable to a modified version of Madison’s and Turri’s objection. However, I argue that Hetherington’s considerations lend support to a different, though also radical, thesis which can meet the objection. This thesis is what I call the Divorce thesis: the theory of epistemic justification is importantly independent of the theory of knowledge. (shrink)
To contribute more effectively to conservation reform, environmental ethics needs a motivational turn, referenced to the best scientific information about motivation. I address the pivotal questions What actually motivates people to conserve nature? and What ought to motivate people to conserve nature? by proposing a framework for understanding motivations and developing motivationally relevant criteria for environmental ethics. The need for an adequate philosophy of psychology for moral philosophy, identified by Elizabeth Anscombe 50 years ago, remains. Only from a psychologically informed (...) motivational framework for morality can ethicists understand and address the widespread rhetoric behaviors gap plaguing conservation. (shrink)
Most approaches to iterated belief revision are accompanied by some motivation for the use of the proposed revision operator (or family of operators), and typically encode enough information in the epistemic state of an agent for uniquely determining one-step revision. But in those approaches describing a family of operators there is usually little indication of how to proceed uniquely after the first revision step. In this paper we contribute towards addressing that deficiency by providing a formal framework which goes beyond (...) the first revision step in two ways. First, the framework is obtained by enriching the epistemic state of an agent starting from the following intuitive idea: we associate to each world x two abstract objects x⁺ and x⁻, and we assume that, in addition to preferences over the set of worlds, we are given preferences over this set of objects as well. The latter can be considered as meta-information encoded in the epistemic state which enables us to go beyond the first revision step of the revision operator being applied, and to obtain a unique set of preferences over worlds. We then extend this framework to consider, not only the revision of preferences over worlds, but also the revision of this extended structure itself. We look at some desirable properties for revising the structure and prove the consistency of these properties by giving a concrete operator satisfying all of them. Perhaps more importantly, we show that this framework has strong connections with two other types of constructions in related areas. Firstly, it can be seen as a special case of preference aggregation which opens up the possibility of extending the frame-work presented here into a full-fledged framework for preference aggregation and social choice theory. Secondly, it is related to existing work on the use of interval orderings in a number of different contexts. (shrink)
When should I change my mind? What can I believe and what must I doubt? In this new "philosophy of good reasons" Wayne C. Booth exposes five dogmas of modernism that have too often inhibited efforts to answer these questions.
Direct Doxastic Voluntarism — the notion that we have direct voluntary control over our beliefs — has widely been held to be false. There are, however, two ways to interpret the impossibility of our having doxastic control: as either a conceptual/ logical/metaphysical impossibility or as a psychological impossibility. In this paper I analyse the arguments for and against both types of claim and, in particular, evaluate the bearing that putative cases of self-deception have on the arguments in defence of voluntarism (...) about belief. For it would seem that if it is the case that self-induced cases of self-deception are indeed possible, then voluntarism about belief could be true after all. Bennett claims that Williams’ argument for the impossibility case proves too much in that if it is successful in ruling out direct doxastic voluntarism, it is also successful in ruling out cases of indirect doxastic voluntarism. If cases of self-deception can also be cases of indirect doxastic voluntarism, then such cases support the argument against the impossibility case. I argue that Bennett is right in claiming that Williams’ argument proves too much, that cases of self-deception are indeed also sometimes cases of indirect self-deception and so that they cause genuine trouble for the conceptual impossibility case. However, I also argue that this is the only genuine worry for Williams’ argument. I end, while considering whether cases of self-deception can tell us anything about the psychological possibility of direct doxastic control, by suggesting a way of establishing the conceptual impossibility of direct doxastic control that circumvents Bennett’s counter-argument. (shrink)
The Emotional Competency Inventory framework of Daniel Goleman and Richard Boyatzis has gained significant impact in business leadership and management development. This paper considers the composition of the various versions of the ECI and its successor the Emotional and Social Competency Inventory to determine the nature of any appeal to ethics or moral competence within these frameworks. A series of concerns regarding the ethical limitations of the frameworks are presented with arguments supported by the relevant literature across the Emotional Intelligence (...) , competency theory and ethics fields. Based on a review of the ECI competencies in terms of their definitional constructs, it appears possible for an unethical manager or leader to demonstrate EI competence. Several cases involving high-profile business leaders, who were once lauded but later found to have acted unethically, are analysed. The authors consider the capacity of unethical leaders and managers to fulfil EI competence an issue of concern. The inclusion of an ethical management cluster and a number of competencies based on virtue ethics is proposed to meet this concern. Such an inclusion would address the critical issue of the purpose to which an EI competence is applied. Argument supporting the value of a virtue ethics approach as opposed to utilitarian or duty-based ethics approaches is also presented. Finally, a proposed exemplar of an ethically informed ECI framework is included for consideration. (shrink)
In studies of multi-agent interaction, especially in game theory, the notion of equilibrium often plays a prominent role. A typical scenario for the belief merging problem is one in which several agents pool their beliefs together to form a consistent "group" picture of the world. The aim of this paper is to define and study new notions of equilibria in belief merging. To do so, we assume the agents arrive at consistency via the use of a social belief removal function, (...) in which each agent, using his own individual removal function, removes some belief from his stock of beliefs. We examine several notions of equilibria in this setting, assuming a general framework for individual belief removal due to Booth et al. We look at their inter-relations as well as prove their existence or otherwise. We also show how our equilibria can be seen as a generalisation of the idea of taking maximal consistent subsets of agents. (shrink)
Based on social exchange and customer relationship marketing theory, this study examines how ethical leadership contributes to inter-organizational conflict management (task conflict (TC) and relationship conflict), and the moderating role of task interdependence in these relationships. Data was collected from 81 suppliers and 45 corresponding managers of a large group company in China. Results show that ethical leadership is negatively associated with the levels of inter-organizational conflict, whether task or relationship. Task interdependence significantly moderates the relationship between ethical leadership and (...) TC. Managerial implication in terms of creating sound buyer–supplier relationship through an ethical perspective is discussed. (shrink)
The field of iterated belief change has focused mainly on revision, with the other main operator of AGM belief change theory, i.e. contraction, receiving relatively little attention. In this paper we extend the Harper Identity from single-step change to define iterated contraction in terms of iterated revision. Specifically, just as the Harper Identity provides a recipe for defining the belief set resulting from contracting A in terms of (i) the initial belief set and (ii) the belief set resulting from revision (...) by ¬A, we look at ways to define the plausibility ordering over worlds resulting from contracting A in terms of (iii) the initial plausibility ordering, and (iv) the plausibility ordering resulting from revision by ¬A. After noting that the most straightforward such extension leads to a trivialisation of the space of permissible orderings, we provide a family of operators for combining plausibility orderings that avoid such a result. These operators are characterised in our domain of interest by a pair of intuitively compelling properties, which turn out to enable the derivation of a number of iterated contraction postulates from postulates for iterated revision. We finish by observing that a salient member of this family allows for the derivation of counterparts for contraction of some well known iterated revision operators, as well as for defining new iterated contraction operators. (shrink)