We propose a causal model theory to explain asymmetries in judgments of the intentionality of a foreseen side-effect that is either negative or positive (Knobe, 2003). The theory is implemented as a Bayesian network relating types of mental states, actions, and consequences that integrates previous hypotheses. It appeals to two inferential routes to judgment about the intentionality of someone else's action: bottom-up from action to desire and top-down from character and disposition. Support for the theory comes from three experiments that (...) test the prediction that bottom-up inference should occur only when the actor's primary objective is known. The model fits intentionality judgments reasonably well with no free parameters. (shrink)
We highlight one way in which Jones & Love (J&L) misconstrue the Bayesian program: Bayesian models do not represent a rejection of mechanism. This mischaracterization obscures the valid criticisms in their article. We conclude that computational-level Bayesian modeling should not be rejected or discouraged a priori, but should be held to the same empirical standards as other models.
Epistemology, as generally understood by philosophers of science, is rather remote from the history of science and from historical concerns in general. Rheinberger shows that, from the late nineteenth through the late twentieth century, a parallel, alternative discourse sought to come to terms with the rather fundamental experience of the thoroughgoing scientific changes brought on by the revolution in physics. Philosophers of science and historians of science alike contributed their share to what this essay describes as an ongoing quest to (...) historicize epistemology. Historical epistemology, in this sense, is not so concerned with the knowing subject and its mental capacities. Rather, it envisages science as an ongoing cultural endeavor and tries to assess the conditions under which the sciences in all their diversity take shape and change over time. (shrink)
Machin defends a new approach to climate change, which some claim is an “original” and “lucid” contribution that will “revitalize” the debate. Drawing on Slavoj Žižek’s interpretation of parallax and Chantal Mouffe’s radical democracy, Machin focuses on negotiation rather than moral argument, arguing that we should embrace disagreement. In the process of defending her view, Machin dismisses Naomi Klein, and various moral philosophers, arguing that framing the debate in terms of moral argument is ineffective, divisive, and ultimately leads to extremism (...) and climate change denial. However, Machin does not challenge, or engage with, the extensive empirical evidence that suggests that the growth in climate change denial was the result of the “Merchants of Doubt” coordinating campaigns of misinformation, and Machin’s rejection of other views is often based on misrepresentations. Furthermore, Machin’s arguments commit her to an implausible relativism, and the view she defends is morally bereft, and would leave corruption and corporate influence unchecked. Contrary to Machin’s assertions, the history of the abolition of slavery demonstrates that moral argument has a crucial role to play in social change and progress, and should be a crucial part of any democracy, as should a commitment to truth, consistency, and scientific knowledge. (shrink)
In this paper Amanda Fulford addresses the issue of student writing in the university, and explores how the increasing dominance of outcome-driven modes of learning and assessment is changing the understanding of what it is to write, what is expected of students in their writing, and how academic writing should best be supported. The starting point is the increasing use of what are termed “technologies” of writing — “handbooks” for students that address issues of academic writing — that systematize, (...) and smooth the work of writing in, Fulford argues, an unhelpful way. This leads to a reconsideration of what it means to write in the university, and what it is to be a student who writes. Fulford explores etymologically the concept of “writing” and suggests that it might be seen metaphorically as physical labor. Writing as physical labor is explored further through the agricultural metaphors in Henry David Thoreau's Walden and through Stanley Cavell's reading of that text. In making a distinction between writing-as-plowing and writing-as-hoeing, Fulford argues that some technologies of writing deny voice rather than facilitate it, and she concludes by offering a number of suggestions for the teaching and learning of writing in the university that emphasize the value of being lost and finding one's own way out. These “lessons” are illustrated with reference to Thoreau's text Walden and to American literature and film. (shrink)
How do the ways we argue represent a practical philosophy or a way of life? Are concepts of character and ethos pertinent to our understanding of academic debate? In this book, Amanda Anderson analyzes arguments in literary, cultural, and political theory, with special attention to the ways in which theorists understand ideals of critical distance, forms of subjective experience, and the determinants of belief and practice. Drawing on the resources of the liberal and rationalist tradition, Anderson interrogates the limits (...) of identity politics and poststructuralism while holding to the importance of theory as a form of life. Considering high-profile trends as well as less noted patterns of argument, The Way We Argue Now addresses work in feminism, new historicism, queer theory, postcolonialism, cosmopolitanism, pragmatism, and proceduralism. The essays brought together here--lucid, precise, rigorously argued--combine pointed critique with an appreciative assessment of the productive internal contests and creative developments across these influential bodies of thought. Ultimately, The Way We Argue Now promotes a revitalized culture of argument through a richer understanding of the ways critical reason is practiced at the individual, collective, and institutional levels. Bringing to the fore the complexities of academic debate while shifting the terms by which we assess the continued influence of theory, it will appeal to readers interested in political theory, literary studies, cultural studies, gender studies, and the place of academic culture in society and politics. (shrink)
Helen Fielding considers how the repetition of the same can be phenomenally shifted. Considering the phenomenon of death by suicide in response to cyberbullying, she asks how cyberspace as a system can be opened up and become more responsive to the living affect of young women subjected to abuse. At the heart of this problem is the breakdown of personal time into objective time, whereby the inexhaustible potentiality of the living world is collapsed into the indifferent infinity of the possible (...) that, unconnected to living existence, is ultimately a closed system. (shrink)
In this essay Amanda Fulford examines the subject of inter‐cultural understanding from two perspectives: first, through considering Naoko Saito's exploration of translation and inter‐/intra‐cultural understanding, and second, through a discussion of work from the field of literacy studies, in particular the New London Group's “pedagogy of multiliteracies.” In her consideration of the different approaches taken to the challenge of multicultural and globalized societies, and the experiences of encounters with language, Fulford pursues four principal themes: learning from difference, active design (...) of meaning, a relation with language, and transformation of the individual. She shows how Saito's use of American philosophy, in particular Henry David Thoreau's Walden and Stanley Cavell's readings of Thoreau, can play a crucial role in any reconsideration of teaching and learning in adult literacy education. Fulford further demonstrates how Thoreau's notion of the “father tongue” is central to the idea of learning from difference and to our use of language. She concludes by proposing that literacy education and research within the field of literacy studies could benefit from the kind of philosophical conversation, across the borders of subject and epistemology, that an exposure to, and consideration of, the ideas of Thoreau and Cavell on what it means to read and write can offer. (shrink)