Researchers have wondered how the brain creates emotions since the early days of psychological science. With a surge of studies in affective neuroscience in recent decades, scientists are poised to answer this question. In this target article, we present a meta-analytic summary of the neuroimaging literature on human emotion. We compare the locationist approach (i.e., the hypothesis that discrete emotion categories consistently and specifically correspond to distinct brain regions) with the psychological constructionist approach (i.e., the hypothesis that discrete emotion categories (...) are constructed of more general brain networks not specific to those categories) to better understand the brain basis of emotion. We review both locationist and psychological constructionist hypotheses of brain–emotion correspondence and report meta-analytic findings bearing on these hypotheses. Overall, we found little evidence that discrete emotion categories can be consistently and specifically localized to distinct brain regions. Instead, we found evidence that is consistent with a psychological constructionist approach to the mind: A set of interacting brain regions commonly involved in basic psychological operations of both an emotional and non-emotional nature are active during emotion experience and perception across a range of discrete emotion categories. (shrink)
Editors have a responsibility to retract seriously flawed articles from their journals. However, there appears to be little consistency in journals’ policies or procedures for this. In a qualitative study, we therefore interviewed editors of science journals using semi-structured interviews to investigate their experience of retracting articles. We identified potential barriers to retraction, difficulties in the process and also sources of support and encouragement. Our findings have been used as the basis for guidelines developed by the Committee on Publication Ethics.
Background: Breaches of publication ethics such as plagiarism, data fabrication and redundant publication are recognised as forms of research misconduct that can undermine the scientific literature. We surveyed journal editors to determine their views about a range of publication ethics issues. Methods: Questionnaire sent to 524 editors-in-chief of Wiley-Blackwell science journals asking about the severity and frequency of 16 ethical issues at their journals, their confidence in handling such issues, and their awareness and use of guidelines. Results: Responses were obtained (...) from 231 editors (44%), of whom 48% edited healthcare journals. The general level of concern about the 16 issues was low, with mean severity scores of <1 (on a scale of 0–3) for all but one. The issue of greatest concern (mean score 1.19) was redundant publication. Most editors felt confident in handling the issues, with <15% feeling “not at all confident” for all but one of the issues (gift authorship, 22% not confident). Most editors believed such problems occurred less than once a year and >20% of the editors stated that 12 of the 16 items never occurred at their journal. However, 13%–47% did not know the frequency of the problems. Awareness and use of guidelines was generally low. Most editors were unaware of all except other journals’ instructions. Conclusions: Most editors of science journals seem not very concerned about publication ethics and believe that misconduct occurs only rarely in their journals. Many editors are unfamiliar with available guidelines but would welcome more guidance or training. (shrink)
In our response, we clarify important theoretical differences between basic emotion and psychological construction approaches. We evaluate the empirical status of the basic emotion approach, addressing whether it requires brain localization, whether localization can be observed with better analytic tools, and whether evidence for basic emotions exists in other types of measures. We then revisit the issue of whether the key hypotheses of psychological construction are supported by our meta-analytic findings. We close by elaborating on commentator suggestions for future research.
Lindquist et al. convincingly argue that the brain implements psychological operations that are constitutive of emotion rather than modules subserving discrete emotions. However, the nature of such psychological operations is open to debate. I argue that considering appraisal theories may provide alternative interpretations of the neuroimaging data with respect to the psychological operations involved.
Representationism is the view that the phenomenal character of an experience supervenes on its representational content. Synaesthesia is a condition in which the phenomenal character of the experience produced in a subject by stimulation of one sensory modality contains elements characteristic of a second, unstimulated sensory modality. After reviewing some of the recent psychological literature on synaesthesia and one of the leading versions of representationism, I argue that cases of synaesthesia, as instances of what I call the extra qualia problem, (...) are counterexamples to externalist versions of representationism. (shrink)
We agree that conceptualisation is key in understanding the brain basis of emotion. We argue that by conflating facial emotion recognition with subjective emotion experience, Lindquist et al. understate the importance of biological predisposition in emotion. We use examples from the anxiety disorders to illustrate the distinction between these two phenomena, emphasising the importance of both emotional hardware and contextual learning.
Gray argues that my three earlier counterexamples fail to refute representational theories of phenomenal character. I maintain that, despite Gray's arguments, each example does in fact work against the particular representational theory at which it is targeted. Further, I question whether my internalism regarding phenomenal character and Gray's externalism regarding modularity are in genuine conflict with one another.
Wager has argued that synaesthesia provides material for a counterexample to representational theories of the phenomenal character of experience. He gives a series of three cases based on synaesthesia; he requires the second and third cases to bolster the doubtfulness of the first. Here I further endorse the problematic nature of the first case and then show why the other two cases do not save his argument. I claim that whenever synaesthesia is a credible possibility its phenomenal character can (...) be understood in terms of misrepresentation. (shrink)
The Many Gods Objection (MGO) is widely viewed as a decisive criticism of Pascal’s Wager. By introducing a plurality of hypotheses with infinite expected utility into the decision matrix, the wagerer is left without adequate grounds to decide between them. However, some have attempted to rebut this objection by employing various criteria drawn from the theological tradition. Unfortunately, such defenses do little good for an argument that is supposed to be an apologetic aimed at atheists and agnostics. The purpose (...) of this paper is to offer a defensive strategy of a different sort, one more suited to the Wager’s apologetic aim and status as a decision under ignorance. Instead of turning to criteria independent of the Wager, it will be shown that there are characteristics already built into its decision theoretic structure that can be used to block many categories of theological hypotheses including MGO’s more outrageous “cooked-up” hypotheses and “philosophers’ fictions”. -/- Please note that there are editorial errors in the published version. They have been corrected in the attached. (shrink)
Regularity theories of causation assert that causal or nomic notions are to be reduced into “mere” frequencies of particular, non-nomic, co-located qualities and matters of fact. In this essay, I present a critical exploration of Armstrong and Strawson’s explanatory arguments against regularity theories. The shortcomings of these older arguments for nomic realism are identified and a revamped version which is immune to such problems is outlined and defended. I argue that anti-realism suffers substantial disconfirmation due to its comparative inability to (...) unify empirical regularities in the absence of any probabilistic counterweights. I also show that realist theories are much more probable than their anti-realist competitors both individually and in aggregate. This is shown to be the case with even the most humble of observational data. This revamped argument is Bayesian in character; it is immune to the criticisms of Beebee, Everitt, Loewer, and van Fraassen ; and it is empiricist friendly to boot. (shrink)
The standard version of Pascal’s Wager suffers from serious problems. In this paper I present a modified version of a Wager-style argument that avoids several of the most serious objections to the standard version, viz., the objections of Duff and Hájek relating to infinite utilities, moral objections concerning the use of pragmatic considerations, and the many-gods objection. I argue that a serious commitment to living a Christian life is rational if one is rational in assigning a credence to (...) Christianity of at least one-half. The upshot is that considerations of practical rationality dramatically lower the bar for natural theology. (shrink)
Pascal's Wager, and the issues raised by it, have, despite a few notable exceptions, been an object of some neglect in recent Philosophy of Religion. Whether this neglect is from an assumption that the argument requires no comment, or from a feeling that there is something not quite academically respectable about it, I have come to believe that it is undeserved. One reason why the argument is deserving of attention from the theologian is that Pascal has managed to put (...) his finger on just the sort of consideration which, rightly or wrongly, is capable of exercising a powerful influence over the ordinary mind – the sort of problem which, in short, keeps people awake at nights. A reason why it should be of interest to the philosopher is that it possesses that characteristically philosophical quality of appearing obviously invalid in some lights, and in others manages to slip past every supposed disproof, and annoy us with the suspicion that it may, after all, be valid. These reasons alone are sufficient to justify the philosopher of religion in attempting a careful analysis of Pascal's case in the light of which its cogency can be assessed. In this paper, I shall attempt such an analysis, and shall proceed to argue that, correctly understood and within its proper limitations, Pascal's argument is indeed valid. (shrink)
Pascal’s Wager holds that one has pragmatic reason to believe in God, since that course of action has infinite expected utility. The mixed strategy objection holds that one could just as well follow a course of action that has infinite expected utility but is unlikely to end with one believing in God. Monton (2011. Mixed strategies can’t evade Pascal’s Wager. Analysis 71: 642–45.) has argued that mixed strategies can’t evade Pascal’s Wager, while Robertson (2012. Some mixed strategies (...) can evade Pascal’s Wager: a reply to Monton. Analysis 72: 295–98.) has argued that Monton is mistaken. We show that Monton is correct, highlight the crucial assumptions that he relies on, and shed some light on the role of mixed strategies in decision theory. (shrink)
The mixed strategy response to Pascal’s Wager avoids Pascal’s conclusion by noting that there are ways to obtain infinite expected utility other than believing in God. We can, for instance, flip a coin and believe in God if the coin lands heads. Bradley Monton has recently argued that rationality requires us to apply mixed strategies repeatedly until we believe in God, and thus that mixed strategies do not evade the Wager. I offer three mixed strategies meet the requirements (...) of rationality but avoid Monton’s result. (shrink)
In his new book on Pascal's Wager, Jeff Jordan argues that only the ‘Jamesian’ version of the wager argument, as he sees it presented in William James' essay The Will to Believe , constitutes a sound pragmatic argument in favour of theism, whereas Pascal's original wager argument is doomed to fail on various grounds. This article argues that Jordan's theory is untenable. The many-gods objection is used as an example: it is demonstrated that the Jamesian Wager (...) argument too is powerless to rebut this objection. (shrink)
Debates about the moral permissibility of mass electronic surveillance often turn on whether consequentialist considerations legitimately trump relevant deontological rights and principles. In order to establish such overriding consequences, many proponents of mass surveillance employ a modern analogue of Pascal’s wager: they contend that the consequences of no surveillance are so severe that any probability of such outcomes legitimates the abrogation of the relevant rights. In this paper, I briefly review Pascal’s original wager about whether to live a (...) pious life, including two classes of objections that were almost immediately leveled against his argument. I then show that analogues of those objections apply straightforwardly to the modern versions of Pascal’s wager. Mass electronic surveillance might be ethically permissible or even obligatory in some circumstances, but the details matter in ways that are systematically ignored or assumed away in a Pascal’s wager-type argument. Careful consideration of the complexities of our modern situation is required to decide whether consequentialist considerations override deontological principles in this domain. (shrink)
The immeasurable impact of Pascal is rarely appreciated or understood by contemporary thinkers. On the one hand, Pascal is lauded by literary critics for his writing style while his philosophical contributions are overlooked. On the other hand, Pascal is trivialized by analytic philosophers who view his wager argument as but a poor instance of decision theory. Nicholas Reseller's book is distinctive in that it takes Pascal seriously as a philosopher in light of past and present theological modes of argumentation. (...) As a distinguished historian of pragmatic philosophy, Rescher understands Pascal to be the great innovator of the major philosophical trends of our day: the theological use of practical reason, the diversity of modes of rationality, and the focus on praxis in contemporary hermeneutics. (shrink)
There are at least two versions of the famous Wager argument to be found in Pascal’s Pensées. In contemporary work on the Wager, attention is almost always focused on the second. In this paper, we take a look at the first, which is often quickly dismissed as a failure. Indeed, it seems to be generally believed that Pascal himself quickly dismissed it as a failure. We fi rst argue that Pascal himself accepted the argument. Then we argue that (...) those who accept a virtue theoretic account of human flourishing ought to agree with Pascal in accepting the argument. (shrink)
In "To Bet The Impossible Bet", Harmon Holcomb III argues: (i) that Pascal's wager is structurally incoherent; (ii) that if it were not thus incoherent, then it would be successful; and (iii) that my earlier critique of Pascal's wager in "On Rescher On Pascal's Wager" is vitiated by its reliance on "logicist" presuppositions. I deny all three claims. If Pascal's wager is "incoherent", this is only because of its invocation of infinite utilities. However, even if infinite (...) utilities are admissible, the wager is defeated by the "many gods" and "many wagers" objections. Moreover, these objections do not rely on mistaken "logicist" presuppositions: atheists and agnostics traditionally and typically hold that they have no more--or at any rate, hardly any more--reason to believe in the traditional Christian God than they have to believe in countless alternative deities. (shrink)