Previous studies suggest that ancient threats capture attention because human beings possess an inborn module shaped by evolution and dedicated to their detection. An alternative account proposes that a key feature predicting whether a stimulus will capture attention is its relevance rather than its ontology. Within this framework, the present research deals with the attentional capture by threats commonly encountered in our urban environment. In two experiments, we investigate the attentional capture by modern threats. In Experiment 1, participants responded to (...) a target preceded by a cue, which was a weapon or a non-threatening stimulus. We found a larger cuing effect with weapons as compared with non-threatening cues. In Experiment 2, modern and ancient threats were pitted against one another as cues to determine which ones preferentially capture attention. Crucially, participants were faster to detect a target preceded by a modern as opposed to an ancient threat, providing initial evidence for a superiority of modern threat. Overall, the present findings appear more consistent with a relevance-based explanation rather than an evolutionary-based explanation of threat detection. (shrink)
The proverb “chalepa ta kala” is invoked in three dialogues in the Platonic corpus: Hippias Major, Cratylus and Republic. In this paper, I argue that the context in which the proverb arises reveals Socrates’ considerable pedagogical dexterity as he uses the proverb to rebuke his interlocutor in one dialogue but to encourage his interlocutors in another. In the third, he gauges his interlocutors’ mention of the proverb to be indicative of their preparedness for a more difficult philosophical trial. What emerges (...) in the study of these three Platonic dialogues is that Socrates believes that how he and others describe learning makes a tangible difference in philosophical investigation. (shrink)
Creativity is an emerging field of research for philosophy. A diachronic cultural value and fundamental human ability, creativity poses a host of questions that challenge us both on a theoretical and practical level. In this paper we explore creativity through the use of problem-solving lateral thinking techniques, as part of the C2Learn European Community research program. Lateral thinking is defined and then classified into three distinct kinds: conceptual, diagrammatic and emotive. Each kind is then explicated and its basic principles examined, (...) in an effort to shed light on the different ways the space of possible solutions is affected by each kind of lateral thought. It is this active engagement with the space of possibilities itself, that separates a mere problem-solver from an actual creator. (shrink)
In a recent issue of this journal, Berit Brogaard and Joe Salerno presented a counterfactual theory of essence, designed to get around Kit Fine’s influential objections to the standard modal account of essence. I argue that Brogaard and Salerno’s theory does not avoid Fine’s objections. Then I propose a sequence of variations on their theory, and argue that none of them succeed either.
We present evidence that mainstream Anglophone philosophy is insular in the sense that participants in this academic tradition tend mostly to cite or interact with other participants in this academic tradition, while having little academic interaction with philosophers writing in other languages. Among our evidence: In a sample of articles from elite Anglophone philosophy journals, 97% of citations are citations of work originally written in English; 96% of members of editorial boards of elite Anglophone philosophy journals are housed in majority-Anglophone (...) countries; and only one of the 100 most-cited recent authors in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy spent most of his career in non-Anglophone countries writing primarily in a language other than English. In contrast, philosophy articles published in elite Chinese-language and Spanish-language journals cite from a range of linguistic traditions, as do non-English-language articles in a convenience sample of established European-language journals. We also find evidence that work in English has more influence on work in other languages than vice versa and that when non-Anglophone philosophers cite recent work outside of their own linguistic tradition it tends to be work in English. (shrink)
This theoretical paper examines the context-sensitivity of the impact of cultural norms on prejudice regulation. Granting the importance of understanding intergroup dynamics in cultural-ecological contexts, we focus on the peculiarities of the French diversity approach. Indeed, the major cultural norm, the Laïcité is declined today in two main variants: The Historic Laïcité, a longstanding egalitarian norm coexisting with its amended form: The New Laïcité, an assimilationist norm. In fact, these co-encapsulated Laïcité variants constitute a fruitful ground to cast light on (...) the processes underlying prejudice regulation. Indeed, it is documented that the assimilationist New Laïcité is linked to higher levels of prejudice as compared to the egalitarian Historic Laïcité. To this day, research mainly explored interindividual determinants of Laïcité endorsements and specified how these endorsements shape prejudice. Crucially, this “indirect-endorsement path” does not account for the more straightforward causal relationship between Laïcité and prejudice. Moreover, recent experimental evidence suggests that the normative salience of both Laïcité norms shape intergroup attitudes beyond personal endorsement. Therefore, in this contribution, we complement previous work by investigating the possible socio-cognitive processes driving this “direct-contextual path.” In doing so, we seek to bridge the gap of causality by investigating how the Laïcité norms can set the stage for specific regulatory strategies. Our reasoning derives from an application of the Justification-Suppression Model bolstered by classical work on mental control, modern racism and diversity ideology. From this, we sketch out the operative functioning of two distinct regulation processes: one that prevents prejudicial attitudes but which can have unexpected consequences on stereotyping within the Historic Laïcité context and one that helps realize prejudice within the New Laïcité context. From this analysis, we discuss the consequences for intergroup relations within and beyond the French context. In particular, we outline the importance of an adequate framing of egalitarian ideologies so that they achieve their goal to foster harmonious intergroup relations. (shrink)
The paper examines the ethical conception of the most well-known and much discussed Hindu text, the "Bhagavad Gītā", in the context of the Western distinction between duty ethics and virtue ethics. Most of the materials published on the "Gītā" make much of its conception of duty; however, there is no systematic investigation of the notion of virtue in the "Gītā". The paper begins with a discussion of the fundamental characteristics of virtue ethics, before undertaking a discussion of the conceptions of (...) duty and virtue in the "Gītā". The paper clearly demonstrates that both duty and virtue coexist in the "Gītā", and the "Gītā" accords virtue an important place. (shrink)
The Technology Assessment (TA) Program established in 2003 as part of the Dutch R&D consortium NanoNed is interesting for what it did, but also as an indication that there are changes in how new science and technology are pursued: the nanotechnologists felt it necessary to spend part of their funding on social aspects of nanotechnology. We retrace the history of the TA program, and present the innovative work that was done on Constructive TA of emerging nanotechnology developments and on aspects (...) of embedding of nanotechnology in society. One achievement is the provision of tools and approaches to help make the co-evolution of technology and society more reflexive. We briefly look forward by outlining its successor program, TA NanoNextNL, in place since 2011. (shrink)