The year 2000 computer software problem is framed as a technological boundary and cultural object. The author documents and analyzes three subcultures' constructions of Y2K. The three subcultures are millennial Christians, militia-patriot survivalists, and computer professionals. Each subculture interpreted, received, comprehended, and explained the cultural object of Y2K. Combining the data from content analysis and interviews, the author creates a detailed picture of each subculture's response to Y2K. She compares and contrasts the three subcultures. Each subculture created a subcultural filter (...) based on previously held value and belief systems, attitudes toward technology and computers, and interpretations of social environments to create a unique picture of Y2K. She examines how each of the subcultures framed technology through the framing of it as a technological object. Each response was located within the technological determinism versus social determinism debate and juxtaposed with its place in the technology as utopian or dystopian. (shrink)
I consider the problem of political pluralism for political liberalism: that not everybody agrees on fundamental political principles. I critically examine three defenses of liberal principles in situations of political pluralism—the realist defense, the pragmatic defense, and Gerald Gaus’ “justificatory liberalism”—all of which I find wanting. Instead, I propose a dialectical approach to justifying political liberalism. A dialectical approach is based on engaging contradictory positions through conceptual investigation of key concepts claimed by both sides. Through such dialectical engagement, I seek (...) a way to deal with contradictions between liberal and non-liberal philosophies as conceptual issues, rather than as antagonisms beyond reason. The ambition is to contribute to a more robust liberalism capable of defending itself in contexts of political pluralism. As an example, I apply this dialectical approach to the disagreement between political Islam and political liberalism on t... (shrink)
We propose a model of reference that contrasts with standard linguistic approaches in that it focuses on the role of interaction in reference, arguing that referring expressions in conversations are not designed for interchangeable audiences but rather exploit the common ground between partners. Our model also differs from psycholinguistic approaches in that it uses conversational data, since critical aspects of natural conversations are absent from laboratory tasks used so far and thus are not captured by current models. Examples from conversations (...) are presented to demonstrate that speakers often try to manage the accessibility of a problematic referent to an addressee by presenting a context for it as well as a referring expression, even at the cost of syntactic orthodoxy. We also present examples demonstrating that partners negotiate as to what representation is good enough for present purposes and whether that has been achieved. While strategies may vary as to explicitness, we believe these negotiations underlie all formulations of referring expressions. (shrink)
Several scholars have recognized the limitations of theories of moral reasoning in explaining moral behavior. They have argued that moral behavior may also be influenced by moral identity, or how central morality is to one’s sense of self. This idea has been supported by findings that people who exemplify moral behavior tend to place more importance on moral traits when defining their self-concepts (Colby & Damon, 1995). This paper takes the next step of examining individual variation in a construct highly (...) associated with immoral behavior — psychopathy. In Study 1, we test the hypothesis that individuals with a greater degree of psychopathic traits have a weaker moral identity. Within a large online sample, we found that individuals who scored higher on a measure of psychopathic traits were less likely to base their self-concepts on moral traits. In Study 2, we test whether this reduced sense of moral identity can be attributed to differences in moral judgment, which is another factor that could influence immoral behavior. Our results indicated that the reduced sense of moral identity among more psychopathic individuals was independent of variation in moral judgment. These results suggest that individuals with psychopathic traits may display immoral behavior partially because they do not construe their personal identities in moral terms. (shrink)
The Creation of Philosophical Tradition: Biography and the Reception of Avicenna’s Philosophy from the Eleventh to the Fourteenth Century A.D. By Ahmed H. al-Rahim. Diskurse der Arabistik, vol. 21. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2018. Pp. xviii + 218. €42.
The paper defends the position that phenomenological interviews can provide a rich source of knowledge and that they are in no principled way less reliable or less valid than quantitative or experimental methods in general. It responds to several skeptic objections such as those raised against introspection, those targeting the unreliability of episodic memory, and those claiming that interviews cannot address the psychological, cognitive and biological correlates of experience. It argues that the skeptic must either heed the methodological and epistemological (...) justification of the phenomenological interview provided, or embrace a more fundamental skepticism, a “deep mistrust”, in which scientific discourse can have no recourse to conscious processes as explananda, with ensuing dire consequences for our conception of science. (shrink)
The computer metaphor of the brain is frequently criticized by scientists and philosophers outside the computational paradigm. Proponents of the metaphor may then seek to defend its explanatory merits, in which case the metaphor functions as a standpoint. Insofar as previous research in argumentation theory has treated metaphors either as presentational devices or arguments by analogy, this points to hitherto unexplored aspects of how metaphors may function in argumentative discourse. We start from the assumption that the computer metaphor of the (...) brain constitutes an explanatory hypothesis and set out to reconstruct it as a standpoint defended by a complex argumentation structure: abduction supported by analogy. We then provide three examples of real arguments conforming to our theoretically motivated construction. We conclude that our study obtains proof-of-concept but that more research is needed in order to further clarify the relationship between our theoretical construct and the complexities of empirical reality. (shrink)
In this paper, we advance the thesis that music-making can be advantageously understood as an exploratory phenomenon. While music-making is certainly about aesthetic expression, from a phenomenological, cognitive, and even evolutionary perspective, it more importantly concerns structured explorations of the world around us, our minds, and our bodies. Our thesis is based on an enactive and phenomenological analysis of three cases: the first concerns the study of infants involved in early musical activities, and the two latter are phenomenologically inspired interviews (...) with an expert jazz improviser, and members of a prominent string quartet. Across these examples, we find that music-making involves a dual intentionality - one oriented towards the exploration of the sonic, material, and social environment, and one oriented toward the self, including the exploration of bodily awareness and reflective mental states. In enactivist terms, exploration is a fundamental way of making sense of oneself as coupled with the world. Understanding music-making as a pre-eminent case of exploration helps us explicate and appreciate the developmental, sensorimotor, and more advanced cognitive resources that exist in music-making activities. (shrink)
This work formalizes an informant-based structured argumentation approach in a multi-agent setting, where the knowledge base of an agent may include information provided by other agents, and each piece of knowledge comes attached with its informant. In that way, arguments are associated with the set of informants corresponding to the information they are built upon. Our approach proposes an informant-based notion of argument strength, where the strength of an argument is determined by the credibility of its informant agents. Moreover, we (...) consider that the strength of an argument is not absolute, but it is relative to the resolution of the conflicts the argument is involved in. In other words, the strength of an argument may vary from one context to another, as it will be determined by comparison to its attacking arguments (respectively, the arguments it attacks). Finally, we equip agents with the means to express reasons for or against the consideration of any piece of information provided by a given informant agent. Consequently, we allow agents to argue about the arguments’ strength through the construction of arguments that challenge (respectively, defeat) or are in favour of their informant agents. (shrink)
Good chefs know the importance of maintaining sharp knives in the kitchen. What’s their secret? A well-worn Taoist allegory offers some advice. The king asks about his butcher’s impressive knifework. “Ordinary butchers,” he replied “hack their way through the animal. Thus their knife always needs sharpening. My father taught me the Taoist way. I merely lay the knife by the natural openings and let it find its own way through. Thus it never needs sharpening” (Kahn 1995, vii; see also Watson (...) 2003, 46). Plato famously employed this image as an analogy for the reality of his Forms (Phaedrus, 265e). Just like an animal, the world comes pre-divided for us. Ideally, our best theories will be those which “carve nature at its joints”. While Plato employed the “carving” metaphor to convey his views about the reality of his celebrated Forms, its most common contemporary use involves the success of science -- particularly, its success in identifying distinct kinds of things. Scientists often report discovering new kinds of things -- a new species of mammal or novel kind of fundamental particle, for example -- or uncovering more information about already familiar kinds. Moreover, we often notice considerable overlap in different approaches to classification. As Ernst Mayr put it: No naturalist would question the reality of the species he may find in his garden, whether it is a catbird, chickadee, robin, or starling. And the same is true for trees or flowering plants. Species at a given locality are almost invariably separated from each other by a distinct gap. Nothing convinced me so fully of the reality of species as the observation . . . that the Stone Age natives in the mountains of New Guinea recognize as species exactly the same entities of nature as a western scientist. (Mayr 1987, 146) Such agreement is certainly suggestive. It suggests that taxonomies are discoveries rather than mere inventions. Couple this with their utility in scientific inference and explanation and we have compelling reason for accepting the objective, independent reality of many different natural kinds of things.. (shrink)
ABSTRACTPrior research on attention bias in anxious youth, often utilising a visual dot probe task, has yielded inconsistent findings, which may be due to how bias is assessed and/or variability in the phenomenon. The present study utilises eye gaze tracking to assess attention bias in socially anxious adolescents, and explores several methodological and within-subject factors that may contribute to variability in attention bias. Attention bias to threat was measured in forty-two treatment-seeking adolescents diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder. Bias scores toward (...) emotional stimuli and bias scores away from emotional stimuli were explored. Bias scores changed between vigilance and avoidance within individuals and over the course of stimulus presentation. These differences were not associated with participant characteristics nor with self-reported social anxiety symptoms. However, clinician rated severity of social anxiety, explained a signific... (shrink)
We examine the ethical, social, and regulatory barriers that may hinder research on therapeutic potential of certain controversial controlled substances like marijuana, heroin, or ketamine. Hazards for individuals and society and potential adverse effects on communities may be good reasons for limiting access and justify careful monitoring of these substances. Overly strict regulations, fear of legal consequences, stigma associated with abuse and populations using illicit drugs, and lack of funding may, however, limit research on their considerable therapeutic potential. We review (...) the surprisingly sparse literature and address the particular ethical concerns pertinent to research with illicit and addictive substances, such as undue inducement, informed consent, therapeutic misconception, and risk to participants, researchers, and institutions. We consider the perspectives of key research stakeholders and explore whether they may be infected with bias. We conclude by proposing an empirical research agenda to provide an evidentiary basis for ethical reasoning. (shrink)
Both individuals and governments around the world have willingly sacrificed a great deal to meet the collective action problem posed by Covid-19. This has provided some commentators with newfound hope about the possibility that we will be able to solve what is arguably the greatest collective action problem of all time: global climate change. In this paper we argue that this is overly optimistic. We defend two main claims. First, these two collective action problems are so different that the actions (...) that individuals have taken to try to solve the problem posed by Covid-19 unfortunately provide little indication that we will be able to solve the problem posed by climate change. Second, the actions that states have taken in response to Covid-19 might—if anything—even be evidence that they will continue to fail to cooperate towards a solution to the climate crisis. (shrink)
Based on the distinction between living body and lived body, we describe the disease-subject as representing the impact of disease on the existential life-project of the subject. Traditionally, an individual's subjectivity experiences disorders of the body and describes ensuing pain, discomfort and unpleasantness. The idea of a disease-subject goes further, representing the lived body suffering existential disruption and the possible limitations that disease most probably will impose. In this limit situation, the disease-subject will have to elaborate a new life-story, a (...) new character or way-of-being-in-the-world, it will become a different subject. (shrink)
We agree that much of language evolution is likely to be adaptation of languages to properties of the brain. However, the attempt to rule out the existence of language-specific adaptations a priori is misguided. In particular, the claim that adaptation to cannot occur is false. Instead, the details of gene-culture coevolution in language are an empirical matter.
In the eyes of the philosophical public, F.H. Bradley is recognized primarily for the theories he advanced in Appearance and Reality, which themselves are known, on the whole, only through the writings of Bertrand Russell and G.E. Moore. It has been suggested that the rejection of idealism during the early twentieth century, and the subsequent rise to prominence of analysis, was for Moore and Russell in many respects a rejection of the central ideas in Appearance and Reality. History, we are (...) told, is always written by a conflict’s victors, and surely to this philosophy is no exception. Bradley’s notable fall from prominence, however, has deposited him in the philosophical netherworld, and his metaphysical arguments, when mentioned, are often invoked to show students how they by all means must not conduct their own. That Bradley was an idealist, a monist, an absolutist, and even a mystic are all things everyone seems to know, but I suspect that upon the careful inspection of Bradley’s project, these labels can be shown to supply only misleading half truths, and in some cases, might not stick at all. But let me make clear that in this paper, my concern will not be with what has been said about Bradley. Rather, this is a paper about what Bradley says. (shrink)