In this essay I will argue that natural selection is more important to functional explanations than what has been thought in some of the literature in philosophy of biology. I start by giving a brief overview of the two paradigms cases of functional explanations: etiological functions and causal-role functions. i then consider one particular attempt to conciliate both perspectives given by David Buller. Buller's trial to conciliate both etiological functions and causal-role functions results in what he calls a weak etiological (...) theory. I argue that Buller has not succeeded in his construal of the weak etiological theory: he underestimates the role that selective processes have in functional explanations and so his theory may not be classified as an etiologial theory. As an alternative, I consider the account of etiological functions given by Ruth Millikan and I argue that Millikan's theory is more comprehensive to assess contentious case in biology like exaptations. Finally, I conclude by analyzing where the adoption of Millikan's theory leave us. I argue, contrary to Millikan and others, that once we assume the importance of natural selection in functional explanations, there is no strong reason to resist a linguistic reform of the word function and hence that the attempts to conciliate both etiological functions and causal-role functions are misplaced. (shrink)
O que é o lembrar? Quando podemos dizer que um sujeito lembra um evento do passado? Essas são duas questões centrais na filosofia da memória, uma área que vem experimentando uma rápida expansão nos últimos anos. Por quase meio século, a teoria causal da memória, inicialmente proposta por Martin e Deutscher, dominou o debate sobre como devemos responder às duas questões iniciais. Mais recentemente, no entanto, a teoria causal se tornou alvo de duras críticas, o que motivou os filósofos da (...) memória a desenvolverem duas novas teorias sobre o lembrar: a teoria simulacionista e a teoria funcionalista. Neste artigo, exploramos essas teorias em mais detalhes com o objetivo de tornar mais claro quais são seus comprometimentos, assim como suas vantagens e desvantagens. (shrink)
The debate over the objects of episodic memory has for some time been stalled, with few alternatives to familiar forms of direct and indirect realism being advanced. This paper moves the debate forward by building on insights from the recent psychological literature on memory as a form of episodic hypothetical thought (or mental time travel) and the recent philosophical literature on relationalist and representationalist approaches to perception. The former suggests that an adequate account of the objects of episodic memory will (...) have to be a special case of an account of the objects of episodic hypothetical thought more generally. The latter suggests that an adequate account of the objects of episodic hypothetical thought will have to combine features of direct realism and representationalism. We develop a novel pragmatist-inspired account of the objects of episodic hypothetical thought that has the requisite features. (shrink)
This paper proposes a novel account of the contents of memory. By drawing on insights from the philosophy of perception, I propose a hybrid account of the contents of memory designed to preserve important aspects of representationalist and relationalist views. The hybrid view I propose also contributes to two ongoing debates in philosophy of memory. First, I argue that, in opposition to eternalist views, the hybrid view offers a less metaphysically-charged solution to the co-temporality problem. Second, I show how the (...) hybrid view conceives of the relationship between episodic memory and other forms of episodic thinking. I conclude by considering some disanalogies between perception and memory and by replying to objections. I argue that, despite there being important differences between memory and perception, those differences do not harm my project. (shrink)
This paper develops a theory of perception that reconciles representationalism and relationalism by relying on pragmatist ideas. I call it the pragmatic view of perception. I argue that fully reconciling representationalism and relationalism requires, first, providing a theory in which how we perceive the world involves representations; second, preserving the idea that perception is constitutively shaped by its objects; and third, offering a direct realist account of perception. This constitutes what I call the Hybrid Triad. I discuss how Charles Peirce’s (...) theory of perception can provide a framework for such a view and I devote the rest of the paper to developing my own pragmatic and Peircean theory of perception. In particular, I argue that considering perception as a continuous temporal process, which essentially involves interaction with the environment, allows us to do justice to the Hybrid Triad. I motivate this view by discussing how a pragmatic theory of perception would deal with issues such as the distinction between veridical and non-veridical experiences and the nature of perceptual objects. (shrink)
Radical enactivism, an increasingly influential approach to cognition in general, has recently been applied to memory in particular, with Hutto and Peeters New directions in the philosophy of memory, Routledge, New York, 2018) providing the first systematic discussion of the implications of the approach for mainstream philosophical theories of memory. Hutto and Peeters argue that radical enactivism, which entails a conception of memory traces as contentless, is fundamentally at odds with current causal and postcausal theories, which remain committed to a (...) conception of traces as contentful: on their view, if radical enactivism is right, then the relevant theories are wrong. Partisans of the theories in question might respond to Hutto and Peeters’ argument in two ways. First, they might challenge radical enactivism itself. Second, they might challenge the conditional claim that, if radical enactivism is right, then their theories are wrong. In this paper, we develop the latter response, arguing that, appearances to the contrary notwithstanding, radical enactivism in fact aligns neatly with an emerging tendency in the philosophy of memory: radical enactivists and causal and postcausal theorists of memory have begun to converge, for distinct but compatible reasons, on a contentless conception of memory traces. (shrink)
The questions of whether episodic memory is a propositional attitude, and of whether it has propositional content, are central to discussions about how memory represents the world, what mental states should count as memories, and what kind of beings are capable of remembering. Despite its importance to such topics, these questions have not been addressed explicitly in the recent literature in philosophy of memory. In one of the very few pieces dealing with the topic, Fernández (2006) provides a positive answer (...) to the initial questions by arguing that the propositional attitude view of memory, as I will call it, provides a simple account of how memory possesses truth-conditions. A similar suggestion is made by Byrne (2010) when he proposes that perception and episodic memory have the same kind of content, differing only in degree. Against the propositional attitude view, I will argue that episodic memory does not have propositional content, and therefore, that it is not a propositional attitude. My project here is, therefore, mainly critical. I will show that, if empirical work is to inform our philosophical theories of memory in any way, we have good reasons to deny, or at least to be skeptical, of the prospects of the propositional attitude view of episodic memory. (shrink)
The current dispute between causalists and simulationists in philosophy of memory has led to opposing attempts to characterize the relationship between memory and imagination. In a recent overview of this debate, Perrin and Michaelian have suggested that the dispute over the continuity between memory and imagination boils down to the question of whether a causal connection to a past event is necessary for remembering. By developing an argument based on an analogy to perception, I argue that this dispute should instead (...) be viewed as a dispute about the nature of the attitudes involved in remembering and imagining. The focus on attitudes, rather than on causal connections, suggests a new way of conceiving of the relationship between memory and imagination that has been overlooked in recent philosophy of memory. (shrink)
In a recent paper, Justin D’Ambrosio (2020) has offered an empirical argument in support of a negative solution to the puzzle of Macbeth’s dagger—namely, the question of whether, in the famous scene from Shakespeare’s play, Macbeth sees a dagger in front of him. D’Ambrosio’s strategy consists in showing that “seeing” is not an existence-neutral verb; that is, that the way it is used in ordinary language is not neutral with respect to whether its complement exists. In this paper, we offer (...) an empirical argument in favor of an existence-neutral reading of “seeing”. In particular, we argue that existence-neutral readings are readily available to language users. We thus call into question D’Ambrosio’s argument for the claim that Macbeth does not see a dagger. According to our positive solution, Macbeth sees a dagger, even though there is not a dagger in front of him. (shrink)
Originally understood as memory for the “what”, the “when”, and the “where” of experienced past events, episodic memory has, in recent years, been redefined as a form of past-oriented mental time travel. Following a brief review of empirical research on memory as mental time travel, this introduction provides an overview of the contributions to the special issue, which explore the theoretical implications of that research.
The idea that episodic memory is memory of particulars is prominent in philosophy. The particularity of remembering, as I will call it, has been taken for granted in most recent theorizing on the subject. This is because the classical causal theory of memory, which has been extremely influential in philosophy, is said to provide a straightforward account of particularity. But the causal theory has been criticized recently, in particular due to its inability to make sense of the constructive character of (...) remembering. In this paper, I argue that recent attempts to account for the constructive character of remembering have failed to account for its particularity. This is either because they depart in important senses from the classical causal theory’s account of mnemonic causation or because they give up on mnemonic causation altogether. I then proceed to consider the question of whether we should go back to the classical causal theory of memory to account for particularity. I argue that, despite the widespread idea that the classical causal theory offers a straightforward account of particularity, there are good reasons to reject it. The upshot is that philosophers of memory should consider alternative accounts of particularity that do not revolve around mnemonic causation. (shrink)
The idea that episodic memory is a form of mental time travel has played an important role in the development of memory research in the last couple decades. Despite its growing importance in psychology, philosophers have only begun to develop an interest in philosophical questions pertaining to the relationship between memory and mental time travel. Thus, this paper proposes a more systematic discussion of the relationship between memory and mental time travel from the point of view of philosophy. I start (...) by discussing some of the motivations to take memory to be a form of mental time travel. I call the resulting view of memory the mental time travel view. I then proceed to consider important philosophical questions pertaining to memory and develop them in the context of the mental time travel view. I conclude by suggesting that the intersection of the philosophy of memory and research on mental time travel not only provides new perspectives to think about traditional philosophical questions, but also new questions that have not been explored before. (shrink)
This paper explores the relationship between a prominent version of the relational view of memory and recent work on forms of unsuccessful remembering or memory errors. I argue that unsuccessful remembering poses an important challenge for the relational view. Unsuccessful remembering can be divided into two kinds: misremembering and confabulating. I discuss each of these cases in light of a recent relational account, according to which remembering is characterized by an experiential relation to past events, and I argue that experiential (...) relations do not adequately distinguish between successful and unsuccessful remembering. This is because there are, on the one hand, cases of remembering that do not instantiate the relevant experiential relations, and, on the other hand, cases of confabulation and misremembering that do instantiate the relevant experiential relations. I conclude by suggesting that any successful relationalist attempt to explain remembering needs to come to grips with unsuccessful remembering. (shrink)
In opposition to the natural view that observer perspective memory is bound to be inauthentic, McCarroll argues for the surprising conclusion that memories in which the subject sees himself in the remembered scene are, in many cases, true to the subject’s original experience of the scene. By means of a careful reconstruction of his argument, this paper shows that McCarroll does not succeed in establishing his conclusion. It shows, in fact, that we ought to come to the opposed conclusion that, (...) while it may be possible in principle for observer perspective memory to be authentic, this is unlikely ever to happen in practice. The natural view, in short, is more or less right. (shrink)
This paper aims to provide a psychologically-informed philosophical account of the phenomenology of episodic remembering. The literature on epistemic or metacognitive feelings has grown considerably in recent years, and there are persuasive reasons, both conceptual and empirical, in favour of the view that the phenomenology of remembering—autonoetic consciousness, as Tulving influentially referred to it, or the feeling of pastness, as we will refer to it here—is an epistemic feeling, but few philosophical treatments of this phenomenology as an epistemic feeling have (...) so far been proposed. Building on insights from the psychological literature, we argue that a form of feeling-based metacognition is involved in episodic remembering and develop an integrated metacognitive feeling-based view that addresses several key aspects of the feeling of pastness, namely, its status as a feeling, its content, and its relationship to the first-order memories the phenomenology of which it provides. (shrink)
It is easy to show that in many natural axiomatic formulations of physical and even mathematical theories, there are many superfluous concepts usually assumed as primitive. This happens mainly when these theories are formulated in the language of standard set theories, such as Zermelo–Fraenkel’s. In 1925, John von Neumann created a set theory where sets are definable by means of functions. We provide a reformulation of von Neumann’s set theory and show that it can be used to formulate physical and (...) mathematical theories with a lower number of primitive concepts very naturally. Our basic proposal is to offer a new kind of set-theoretic language that offers advantages with respect to the standard approaches, since it doesn’t introduce dispensable primitive concepts. We show how the proposal works by considering significant physical theories, such as non-relativistic classical particle mechanics and classical field theories, as well as a well-known mathematical theory, namely, group theory. This is a first step of a research program we intend to pursue. (shrink)
Quasi-set theory provides us a mathematical background for dealing with collections of indistinguishable elementary particles. In this paper, we show how to obtain the usual statistics (Maxwell–Boltzmann, Bose–Einstein, and Fermi–Dirac) into the scope of quasi-set theory. We also show that, in order to derive Maxwell–Boltzmann statistics, it is not necessary to assume that the particles are distinguishable or individuals. In other words, Maxwell–Boltzmann statistics is possible even in an ensamble of indistinguishable particles, at least from the theoretical point of view. (...) The main goal of this paper is to provide the mathematical grounds of a quasi-set theoretical framework for statistical mechanics. (shrink)
We recently showed that it is possible to deal withcollections of indistinguishable elementary particles (in thecontext of quantum mechanics) in a set-theoretical framework, byusing hidden variables. We propose in the presentpaper another axiomatics for collections of indiscernibleswithout hidden variables, where hidden predicates are implicitlyassumed. We also discuss the possibility of a quasi-settheoretical picture for quantum theory. Quasi-set theory, basedon Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory, was developed for dealing withcollections of indistinguishable, but, not identical objects.
We recently showed that it is possible to deal with collections of indistinguishable elementary particles in a set-theoretical framework, by using hidden variables. We propose in the present paper another axiomatics for collections of indiscernibles without hidden variables, where hidden predicates are implicitly assumed. We also discuss the possibility of a quasi-set theoretical picture for quantum theory. Quasi-set theory, based on Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory, was developed for dealing with collections of indistinguishable, but, not identical objects.
No momento em que oposições seculares – tais como real versus imaginário, razão versus mito, inteligível versus sensível, vida mental versus vida material – se encurtam e o poder passa a ser exercido não só pela coerção material, mas também pela dominação simbólica, percebe-se que, cada vez mais, procura-se conciliar razão e imaginário. Entende-se, assim, que a tradição é mantida através dos mitos e das lendas. O que se deseja, realmente, é manter-se o passado dentro do futuro. A sociedade tem, (...) como objetivo, o futuro. Entretanto, ela se mantém sob as regras do passado. O imaginário é sempre, em certa medida, imitação do passado, mas é uma imitação deformada pelo próprio mecanismo de projeção, que mais não pode fazer a não ser transformar os preceitos, as estruturas adquiridas pelas aprendizagens adaptativas, suprimindo-lhes outros preceitos e outras estruturas, condicionando-os a tornarem-se, sem apelo nem agravo, diferentes daquilo que são. A criança não está livre desse processo. Constantemente ela é bombardeada pelas imagens publicitárias, cinematográficas e televisionada, além das várias modalidades de Literatura que permeiam o seu cotidiano. Palavras-chave: Literatura fantástica; Infância; Imaginário e religião. ABSTRACT In a moment when secular oppositions curtail (such as the real versus the imaginary, reason versus myth, the intelligible versus the sensitive, mental life versus material life) and power comes to be exerted not only through material coercion but also through symbolical domination, one notices a growing tendency towards conciliating reason and the imaginary. Thus, tradition is kept through myths and legends, as the aim is really to hold the past inside the future. Society aims at the future. However, it keeps the rules of the past. In a way, the imaginary is always an imitation of the past, but an imitation deformed by its own projection mechanism, which cannot but transform precepts and frameworks acquired through adaptive learning, suppressing other precepts and frameworks and conditioning them to become different from what they are. The child is not free from that process, being constantly exposed to publicity, cinema and television images, besides the various kinds of literature that permeate his daily life. Key words: Fantastic literature; Childhood; The imaginary and religion. (shrink)
The structure of natural languages is usually studied from three major different but interconnected points of view: syntax, semantics, and pragmatics. If we consider that the main purpose of natural languages is communication, we should consider another dimension for languages, which deals with the influence of internal states of communicating individuals on meanings. Such a dimension we refer to as internalism. Within this context, internalism cannot be confused with psycholinguistics, in the same way pragmatics cannot be confused with sociolinguistics. In (...) particular, we argue, language is tied to its systematic use. This view leads us to a non-realist perspective on linguistics. We analyze the role of natural languages into dialogues, by comparing our proposal to the dialogical approach to logic, which considers a dialogue as a game. Within our approach, there is no way to guarantee that two parties involved in a dialogue are playing the same game, due to unavoidable differences in their respective internal states. Another contribution of this paper is to argue that semantics plays a more fundamental role than syntax in the cognitive acquisition of languages. (shrink)
Quasi-set theory $\cal Q$ allows us to cope with certain collections of objects where the usual notion of identity is not applicable, in the sense that $x = x$ is not a formula, if $x$ is an arbitrary term. $\cal Q$ was partially motivated by the problem of non-individuality in quantum mechanics. In this paper I discuss the range of explanatory power of $\cal Q$ for quantum phenomena which demand some notion of indistinguishability among quantum objects. My main focus is (...) on the double-slit experiment, a major physical phenomenon which was never modeled from a quasi-set-theoretic point of view. The double-slit experiment strongly motivates the concept of degrees of indistinguishability within a field-theoretic approach, and that notion is simply missing in $\cal Q$. Nevertheless, other physical situations may eventually demand a revision on quasi-set theory axioms, if someone intends to use it in the quantum realm for the purpose of a clear discussion about non-individuality. I use this opportunity to suggest another way to cope with identity in quantum theories. (shrink)
We present an axiomatic framework for semantics that can be applied to natural and formal languages. Our main goal is to suggest a very simple mathematical model that describes fundamental cognitive aspects of the human brain and that can still be applied to artificial intelligence. One of our main results is a theorem that allows us to infer syntactical properties of a language out of its corresponding semantics. The role of pragmatics in semantics in our mathematical framework is also discussed.
I briefly discuss the epistemological role of quasi-set theory in mathematics and theoretical physics. Quasi-set theory is a first order theory, based on Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory with Urelemente. Nevertheless, quasi-set theory allows us to cope with certain collections of objects where the usual notion of identity is not applicable, in the sense that $x = x$ is not a formula, if $x$ is an arbitrary term. Basically, quasi-set theory offers us some sort of logical apparatus for questioning the need for (...) identity in some branches of mathematics and theoretical physics. I also use this opportunity to discuss a misunderstanding about quasi-sets due mainly to Nicholas J. J. Smith, who argues, in a general way, that sense cannot be made of vague identity. (shrink)
Este artigo tem por objetivo criticar a teoria do modelo ocidental de guerra, proposta por Hanson, a partir do que a historiografia tem identificado como seus principais problemas: a alegada continuidade da arte da guerra ocidental através dos séculos, começando com os gregos antigos; e o chamado “contraste asiático”, com alguns dos seus desdobramentos. Assim, o texto está dividido em três seções: 1) a apresentação e os méritos da teoria de Hanson; 2) suas bases clássicas, ou a ênfase da arte (...) da guerra grega na batalha decisiva como uma “escolha cultural”; 3) as críticas pertinentes. (shrink)
We discuss three problems concerning the use of formal languages in theoretical physics: (i) the definability of time and spacetime in classical physical theories; (ii) how to cope with indistinguishable elementary particles in quantum mechanics without labeling them; and (iii) how to get a formal picture of quantum states jumping.
Our main purpose here is to make some considerations about the definability of physical concepts like mass, force, time, space, spacetime, and so on. Our starting motivation is a collection of supposed definitions of closed system in the literature of physics and philosophy of physics. So, we discuss the problem of definitions in theoretical physics from the point of view of modern theories of definition. One of our main conclusions is that there are different kinds of definitions in physics that (...) demand different approaches. Within this context, we strongly advocate the use of the axiomatic method in order to discuss some issues concerning definitions. (shrink)
We use Padoa's principle of independence of primitive symbols in axiomatic systems in order to show that time is dispensable in continuum thermodynamics, according to the axiomatic formulation of Gurtin and Williams. We also show how to define time by means of the remaining primitive concepts of Gurtin and Williams system. Finally, we introduce thermodynamics without time as a primitive concept.
Neste artigo procura-se responder ao desafio da leitura de Heidegger no que concerne à possibilidade de uma relação entre ontologia e ética.O autor investiga a possibilidade da colocação do problema de tal relação,privilegiando a noção heideggeriana de liberdade.
Este artigo apresenta uma discussão historiográfica sobre a fonte histórica conhecida como Epítome Heidelberg, um documento grego do século XV de autoria disputada e que trata dos primórdios do período helenístico. Propõe especialmente avançar no debate a partir da tese de Pat Wheatley ao inserir o documento em epígrafe em uma breve discussão conceitual e metodológica sobre epítomes e fragmentos na historiografia grega.
Resumo: A superstição é definida por Bayle, em diversos momentos e diversas obras do filósofo francês, como: a) algo característico da corrupção natural humana; b) a prova da facilidade do homem em se ater às mais diversas crendices, logo, estando sujeito não só a uma, mas a todo tipo de superstições; c) o fenômeno que se instaurou e se disseminou na sociedade, perseguindo a todos e gerando ilusões por toda parte, através de presságios, profecias, prodígios, e sinais. Nesse quadro de (...) diversas e intangíveis absurdidades, a superstição ganha forma, indo para além dos domínios da razão e, assim, Bayle, em seus escritos, torna manifesta a oposição entre a filosofia e a ignorância supersticiosa, entre o entendimento e a imaginação e entre as explicações científicas e os relatos fantásticos.: Superstition is defined by Bayle at various times and in various works as: a) something characteristic of natural human corruption; b) proof of the ease of man in adhering to the most diverse beliefs, being subject not only to one but to all kinds of superstitions; c) a phenomenon which arose and spread in society, following everyone and creating illusions everywhere by means of omens, prophecies, miracles, and signs. In this context of the diverse and intangible absurdities in which superstition takes shape, going beyond the realms of reason, Bayle in his writings makes manifest the opposition between philosophy and superstitious ignorance, between understanding and imagination, and between scientific explanations and fantastic tales. (shrink)
Em seu Système de la nature, Holbach afirma que algumas ideias que o homem engendra dentro de si são derivadas de uma oscilação dos humores que o impede de entrever quais as razões de atribuir um caráter sacro a certas palavras ou opiniões. Nesse sentido, as paixões, longe de serem romantizadas e levarem vantagem em relação à reta razão justamente por serem menos frias e mais lúdicas, sob a pena do barão ganham uma imagem negativa, definidas como verdadeiros obstáculos ao (...) homem que pretende entender os princípios, o curso e as leis da natureza dispensando o recurso a instâncias ou entidades sobrenaturais criadas pela imaginação, pela inconstância dos humores ou pela linguagem. Palavras-chave : Holbach. Paixões. Divindade. (shrink)
Quando Bayle reflete sobre a possibilidade de um ateísmo especulativo, ele argumenta acuradamente a respeito, mostra que o ateísmo pode dar sua contribuição a diversas discussões de ordem teórica, como a questão do livre-arbítrio, da providência e do mal, por exemplo. Se o filósofo de Carla se pronuncia a favor do ateísmo especulativo, ele vai mais além e afirma uma moral natural, a qual, apoiada em princípios comuns a todos os homens, permite vislumbrar e dar solidez a sua tese fundamental (...) desde os Pensées diverses sur la comète: a associação entre ateísmo e virtude. Dessa forma, Bayle expõe e analisa os diversos argumentos e pontos de vista a respeito do estatuto filosófico do ateísmo especulativo. (shrink)