Variable binding has long been a challenge to connectionists. Attempts to perform variable binding using localist and distributed connectionist representations are discussed, and problems inherent in each type of representation are outlined.
In ”Embodiment and Epistemology,” Louise Antony considers a kind of ”Cartesian epistemology” according to which, so far as knowing goes, knowers could be completely disembodied, that is, pure Cartesian egos. Antony examines a number of recent challenges to Cartesian epistemology, particularly challenges from feminist epistemology. She contends that we might have good reason to think that theorizing about knowledge can be influenced by features of our embodiment, even if we lack reason to suppose that knowing itself varies relative (...) to such features. She also argues that a masculinist bias can result in mishandling of cognitive differences in cases where they actually exist and she examines a number of the ways in which the maleness of philosophy has, according to feminists, distorted epistemology. Even if a Cartesian approach offers one indispensable part of a comprehensive epistemology, according to Antony, we still need an epistemology that answers questions raised by our everyday, embodied lives. (shrink)
In this book Gregory Browne rejects the views of David Hume and the Logical Positivists, and argues that there are necessary factual truths, which include a wide range of truths from many fields of knowledge. Browne argues for the necessity of Newton's Laws and truths about natural kinds, and for the factuality of definitional truths and truths of logic and mathematics. Browne synthesizes the work of Kripke, Putnam, Quine and others, but goes beyond the usual discussions of (...) the meanings and definitions of terms to discuss the references of various kinds of terms, and specifically to develop a theory of kinds, distinguishing 'Deep Kinds' and 'Shallow Kinds' . His theory of Deep Kinds does not accept all of the assumptions commonly associated wtih a theory of natural kinds. (shrink)
Edward Granville Browne was a British orientalist renowned for his work on Persia. In this book, which was first published in 1918, Browne provided readers with access to previously unpublished material on the Bábí religious movement, which came to prominence in Persia between 1844 and 1852, before continuing in exile in the Ottoman Empire. This material was gathered by the author as a result of the development of personal relationships with key figures in the movement, such as Subh-i-Azal (...) and Bahá'u'lláh, from 1890 onwards. Prior to publication, it was translated into English, where necessary, and properly organised to increase intelligibility. This is a highly informative text that will be of value to anyone with an interest in the development of Bábism. (shrink)
Illusions are thought to make trouble for the intuition that perceptual experience is "open" to the world. Some have suggested, in response to the this trouble, that illusions differ from veridical experience in the degree to which their character is determined by their engagement with the world. An understanding of the psychology of perception reveals that this is not the case: veridical and falsidical perceptions engage the world in the same way and to the same extent. While some contemporary vision (...) scientists propose to draw the distinction between veridical experience and illusion in terms of the satisfaction or non-satisfaction of “hidden assumptions” deployed in the course of normal perceptual inference, I argue for a different approach. I contend that there are, in a sense, no illusions – illusions are as “open” as veridical experiences. Percepts lack the kinds of intentional content that would be needed for perceptual misrepresntation. My view gives a satisfying solution to a philosophical problem for disjunctivism about the good case/bad case distinction: with respect to illusions, every "bad case" of seeing an X can be equally well construed as a "good case" of seeing some Y (different from X). -/- . (shrink)
A book of tremendous influence when it first appeared, A Mind of One's Own reminded readers that the tradition of Western philosophy-- in particular, the ideals of reason and objectivity-- has come down to us from white males, nearly all of whom are demonstrably sexist, even misogynist. In this second edition, the original authors continue to ask, What are the implications of this fact for contemporary feminists working within this tradition? The second edition pursues this question about the value of (...) reason and objectivity in new directions using the fresh perspectives and diverse viewpoints of the new generation of feminist philosophers. A Mind of One's Own is essential reading and an essential reference for philosophers and for all scholars and students concerned about the nature of knowledge and our pursuit of it. (shrink)
Cultural safety is a relatively new concept that has emerged in the New Zealand nursing context and is being taken up in various ways in Canadian health care discourses. Our research team has been exploring the relevance of cultural safety in the Canadian context, most recently in relation to a knowledge-translation study conducted with nurses practising in a large tertiary hospital. We were drawn to using cultural safety because we conceptualized it as being compatible with critical theoretical perspectives that foster (...) a focus on power imbalances and inequitable social relationships in health care; the interrelated problems of culturalism and racialization; and a commitment to social justice as central to the social mandate of nursing. Engaging in this knowledge-translation study has provided new perspectives on the complexities, ambiguities and tensions that need to be considered when using the concept of cultural safety to draw attention to racialization, culturalism, and health and health care inequities. The philosophic analysis discussed in this paper represents an epistemological grounding for the concept of cultural safety that links directly to particular moral ends with social justice implications. Although cultural safety is a concept that we have firmly positioned within the paradigm of critical inquiry, ambiguities associated with the notions of 'culture', 'safety', and 'cultural safety' need to be anticipated and addressed if they are to be effectively used to draw attention to critical social justice issues in practice settings. Using cultural safety in practice settings to draw attention to and prompt critical reflection on politicized knowledge, therefore, brings an added layer of complexity. To address these complexities, we propose that what may be required to effectively use cultural safety in the knowledge-translation process is a 'social justice curriculum for practice' that would foster a philosophical stance of critical inquiry at both the individual and institutional levels. (shrink)
The use of expressions like ‘concepts of consciousness’, ‘kinds of consciousness’, and ‘meanings of ‘consciousness’’ interchangeably is ubiquitous within the consciousness literature. It is argued that this practice can be made sense of in only two ways. The first involves interpreting ‘concepts of consciousness’ and ‘kinds of consciousness’ metalinguistically to mean concepts expressed by ‘consciousness’ and kinds expressed by ‘consciousness’; and the second involves certain literal, though semantically deviant, interpretations of those expressions. The trouble is that researchers typically use the (...) above expressions interchangeably without satisfying either way of doing so coherently. The result is much error and confusion, which is demonstrated in the works of philosophers currently writing on consciousness. (shrink)
are sharp rather than vague, that they can have no borderline cases. On the other hand, many who take conscious states to be identical to, or realized by, complex physical states are committed to the vagueness of those concepts. In the paper I argue that conscious state and conscious creature are sharp by presenting four necessary conditions for conceiving borderline cases in general, and showing that some of those conditions cannot be met with conscious state. I conclude that conscious state (...) is sharp, and the conclusion is then extended to conscious creature. The paper ends with a brief discussion of some implications. (shrink)
Concern about two problems runs through the work of davidson: the problem of accounting for the "explanatory force" of rational explanations, and the problem posed for materialism by the apparent anomalousness of psychological events. davidson believes that his view of mental causation, imbedded in his theory of "anomalous monism," can provide satisfactory answers to both questions. however, it is argued in this paper that davidson's program contains a fundamental inconsistency; that his metaphysics, while grounding the doctrine of anomalous monism, makes (...) impossible a successful response to the problem of explanatory force in terms of a causal theory of action. (shrink)
An argument is offered for this conditional: If our current concept conscious state is sharp rather than vague, and also correct , then common versions of familiar metaphysical theories of consciousness are false--?namely versions of the identity theory, functionalism, and dualism that appeal to complex physical or functional properties in identification, realization, or correlation. Reasons are also given for taking seriously the claim that our current concept conscious state is sharp. The paper ends by surveying the theoretical options left open (...) by the concept's sharpness and the truth of the conditional argued for in the paper. (shrink)
It is widely assumed that ‘ consciousness ’ is multiply ambiguous within the consciousness literature. Some alleged senses of the term are access consciousness, phenomenal consciousness, state consciousness, creature consciousness, introspective consciousness, self consciousness, to name a few. In the paper I argue for two points. First, there are few if any good reasons for thinking that such alleged senses are genuine: ‘ consciousness ’ is best viewed as univocal within the literature. The second point is that researchers would do (...) best to avoid the semantics of ‘ consciousness ’, since resorting to “semantic ascent” typically serves no clear purpose in the case of consciousness, and confuses matters more than anything else. (shrink)
Knowledge of one's own states of mind is one of the varieties of self-knowledge. Do any nonhuman animals have the capacity for this variety of self-knowledge? The question is open to empirical inquiry, which is most often conducted with primate subjects. Research with a bottlenose dolphin gives some evidence for the capacity in a nonprimate taxon. I describe the research and evaluate the metacognitive interpretation of the dolphin's behaviour. The research exhibits some of the difficulties attached to the task of (...) eliciting behaviour that both attracts a higher-order interpretation while also resisting deflationary, lower-order interpretations. Lloyd Morgan's Canon, which prohibits inflationary interpretations of animal behaviour, has influenced many animal psychologists. There is one defensible version of the Canon, the version that warns specifically against unnecessary intentional ascent. The Canon on this interpretation seems at first to tell against a metacognitive interpretation of the data collected in the dolphin study. However, the model of metacognition that is in play in the dolphin studies is a functional model, one that does not implicate intentional ascent. I explore some interpretations of the dolphin's behaviour as metacognitive, in this sense. While this species of metacognitive interpretation breaks the connection with the more familiar theory of mind research using animal subjects, the interpretation also points in an interesting way towards issues concerning consciousness in dolphins. (shrink)
Quality improvement mechanisms increasingly use outcome measures to evaluate health care providers. This move toward outcome measures is a radical departure from the traditional focus on process measures. More radical still is the proposal to shift from relatively simple and proximal measures of outcome, such as mortality, to complex outcomes, such as quality of life. While the practical, scientific, and ethical issues associated with the use of outcomes such as mortality and morbidity to compare health care providers have been well (...) rehearsed, the specific concerns associated with the use of quality of life measures in quality of care research have received little attention. As with much research on quality of life there is a tendency to assume that the disadvantages are outweighed by the general virtue of “listening” to patients. In this paper we disagree with this assumption and argue that quality of life is a process, not an outcome. (shrink)
Tyler Burge has argued that a necessary condition for individual's having many of the thoughts he has is that he bear certain relations to other language users. Burge's conclusion is based on a thought experiment in which an individual's social relations are imagined, counterfactually, to differ from how they are actually. The result is that it seems, counterfactually, the individual cannot be attributed many of the thoughts he can be actually. In the article, an alternative interpretation of Burge's thought experiment (...) is offered on which the intuitions Burge evokes can be accepted while his conclusion about the social character of thought is denied. The alternative interpretation given, it is then argued that it is preferable to Burge's. (shrink)
The article presents a critique of John Searle's attack on computationalist theories of mind in his recent book, The Rediscovery of the Mind. Searle is guilty of caricaturing his opponents, and of ignoring their arguments. Moreover, his own positive theory of mind, which he claims "takes account of" subjectivity, turns out to offer no discernible advantages over the views he rejects.
The paper contains an argument against functionalist theories of consciousness. The argument exploits an intuition to the effect that parts of an individual's brain that are not in use at a time t, can have no bearing on whether that individual is conscious at t. After presenting the argument, I defend it against two possible objections, and then distinguish it from two arguments to which it appears, on the surface to be similar.
The boundaries of honesty are the focal point of this exploration of the individualistic origins of modernist ethics and the consequent need for a more pragmatic approach to business ethics. The tendency of modernist ethics to see honesty as an individual responsibility is described as a contextually naive approach, one that fails to account for the interactive effects between individual choices and corporate norms. By reviewing the empirical accounts of managerial struggles with ethical dilemmas, the article arrives at the contextual (...) preconditions for encouraging the development of reflective moral agents in modern corporations. (shrink)
Papineau’s argument in "Thinking About Consciousness" for the vagueness or indeterminacy of phenomenal concepts is discussed. Several problems with his argument are brought out, and it is concluded that his argument fails to establish his desired conclusion.
That consciousness is composed of simple or basic elements that combine to form complex experiences is an idea with a long history. This idea is approached through an examination of our “picture” or conception of consciousness . It is argued that CC commits us to a certain abstract notion of simple experiential events, or simples, and that traditional critiques of simple elements of experience do not threaten simples. To the extent that CC is taken to conform to how consciousness really (...) is, therefore, the concept of simples must be treated in kind. (shrink)
There are 12 different Mental Health Acts in Canada, all of which provide for the involuntary confinement of the mentally disordered to protect both them from themselves and others from them. The Acts differ in many ways, but three issues stand out above all: involuntary admission criteria, the right to refuse treatment, and who has the authority to authorize treatment. I first describe how the MHAs differ on these issues. I then take up the methodological question of how to select (...) or construct a MHA from the many, all of which have something to be said for them. Finally, I apply this test to the three main issues in dispute and identify which solutions would be in an ideal MHA. My aim in this last is not to settle the issues but to engage with them and so deepen our understanding of what is at stake. (shrink)
Two criticisms of Davidson's argument for monism are presented. The first is that there is no obvious way for the anomalism of the mental to do any work in his argument. Certain implicit premises, on the other hand, entail monism independently of the anomalism of the mental, but they are question-begging. The second criticism is that even if Davidson's argument is sound, the variety of monism that emerges is extremely weak at best. I show that by constructing ontologically ``hybrid'' events (...) that are consistent with the premises and assumptions of Davidson's argument, but entail ontological dualism. (shrink)