Quasi-realists face the challenge of providing a plausible analysis of acknowledgments of moral fallibility (e.g., "I believe that lying is wrong, but I might be mistaken"). This paper develops a new analysis of these acknowledgments, according to which they express moral uncertainty. After advertising the advantages of this analysis, I take up the question of how to understand moral uncertainty in expressivist terms.
One attractive feature of process reliabilism is its reductive potential: it promises to explain justification in entirely non-epistemic terms. In this paper, I argue that the phenomenon of epistemic defeat poses a serious challenge for process reliabilism’s reductive ambitions. The standard process reliabilist analysis of defeat is the ‘Alternative Reliable Process Account’ (ARP). According to ARP, whether S’s belief is defeated depends on whether S has certain reliable processes available to her which, if they had been used, would have resulted (...) in S not holding the belief in question. Unfortunately, ARP proves untenable. I show, by way of counterexample, that ARP fails to articulate either necessary or sufficient conditions on defeat. Process reliabilists must either provide an alternative reductive account of defeat or renounce their reductive aspirations. (shrink)
According to noncognitivism, normative beliefs are just desire-like attitudes. While noncognitivists have devoted great effort to explaining the nature of normative belief, they have said little about all of the other attitudes we take towards normative matters. Many of us desire to do the right thing. We sometimes wonder whether our conduct is morally permissible; we hope that it is, and occasionally fear that it is not. This gives rise to what Schroeder calls the 'Many Attitudes Problem': the problem of (...) developing a plausible noncognitivist account of the full range of attitudes that we take towards normative matters. This paper explores the problem and proposes a solution. (shrink)
Relativism and expressivism offer two different semantic frameworks for grappling with a similar cluster of issues. What is the difference between these two frameworks? Should they be viewed as rivals? If so, how should we choose between them? This chapter sheds light on these questions. After providing an overview of relativism and expressivism, I discuss three potential choice points: their relation to truth conditional semantics, their pictures of belief and communication, and their explanations of disagreement.
This paper explores what happens if we construe evidentialism as a thesis about the metaphysical grounds of justification. According to grounding evidentialism, facts about what a subject is justified in believing are grounded in facts about that subject’s evidence. At first blush, grounding evidentialism appears to enjoy advantages over a more traditional construal of evidentialism as a piece of conceptual analysis. However, appearances are deceiving. I argue that grounding evidentialists are unable to provide a satisfactory story about what grounds the (...) evidential facts, and that this provides good reason to reject grounding evidentialism. (shrink)
This paper develops a new challenge for moral noncognitivism. In brief, the challenge is this: Beliefs — both moral and non-moral — are epistemically evaluable, whereas desires are not. It is tempting to explain this difference in terms of differences in the functional roles of beliefs and desires. However, this explanation stands in tension with noncognitivism, which maintains that moral beliefs have a desire-like functional role. After critically reviewing some initial responses to the challenge, I suggest a solution, which involves (...) rethinking the functional relationship between desire and belief. (shrink)
The past decade has seen a protracted debate over the semantics of epistemic modals. According to contextualists, epistemic modals quantify over the possibilities compatible with some contextually determined group’s information. Relativists often object that contextualism fails to do justice to the way we assess utterances containing epistemic modals for truth or falsity. However, recent empirical work seems to cast doubt on the relativist’s claim, suggesting that ordinary speakers’ judgments about epistemic modals are more closely in line with contextualism than relativism (...) (Knobe & Yalcin 2014; Khoo 2015). This paper furthers the debate by reporting new empirical research revealing a previously overlooked dimension of speakers’ truth-value judgments concerning epistemic modals. Our results show that these judgments vary systematically with the question under discussion in the conversational context in which the utterance is being assessed. We argue that this ‘QUD effect’ is difficult to explain if contextualism is true, but is readily explained by a suitably flexible form of relativism. (shrink)
This essay defends a novel form of virtue epistemology: Modal Virtue Epistemology. It borrows from traditional virtue epistemology the idea that knowledge is a type of skillful performance. But it goes on to understand skillfulness in purely modal terms — that is, in terms of success across a range of counterfactual scenarios. We argue that this approach offers a promising way of synthesizing virtue epistemology with a modal account of knowledge, according to which knowledge is safe belief. In particular, we (...) argue that the modal elements of the view offer important advantages over traditional virtue epistemology, which assigns a central explanatory role to aptness. At the same time, the virtue epistemological elements of the theory reveal new avenues for overcoming obstacles to traditional modal accounts of knowledge. Finally, we highlight the advantages of Modal Virtue Epistemology over alternative syntheses, such as Pritchard's (2012) hybrid approach. (shrink)
According to deontological approaches to justification, we can analyze justification in deontic terms. In this paper, I try to advance the discussion of deontological approaches by applying recent insights in the semantics of deontic modals. Specifically, I use the distinction between weak necessity modals and strong necessity modals to make progress on a question that has received surprisingly little discussion in the literature, namely: ‘What’s the best version of a deontological approach?’ The two most obvious hypotheses are the Permissive View, (...) according to which justified expresses permission, and the Obligatory View, according to which justified expresses some species of obligation. I raise difficulties for both of these hypotheses. In light of these difficulties, I propose a new position, according to which justified expresses a property I call faultlessness, defined as the dual of weak necessity modals. According to this view, an agent is justified in phi-ing iff it’s not the case that she should [/ought] not phi. I argue that this ‘Faultlessness View’ gives us precisely what’s needed to avoid the problems facing the Permissive and Obligatory Views. (shrink)
According to the dogmatist, knowing p makes it rational to disregard future evidence against p. The standard response to the dogmatist holds that knowledge is defeasible: acquiring evidence against something you know undermines your knowledge. However, this response leaves a residual puzzle, according to which knowledge makes it rational to intend to disregard future counterevidence. I argue that we can resolve this residual puzzle by turning to an unlikely source: Kavka’s toxin puzzle. One lesson of the toxin puzzle is that (...) it is irrational to intend to do that which you know will be irrational. This yields a simple reply to the dogmatist: it is irrational to intend to disregard future evidence because you can know in advance that it will be irrational to do so. (shrink)
What is it to believe something might be the case? We develop a puzzle that creates difficulties for standard answers to this question. We go on to propose our own solution, which integrates a Bayesian approach to belief with a dynamic semantics for epistemic modals. After showing how our account solves the puzzle, we explore a surprising consequence: virtually all of our beliefs about what might be the case provide counterexamples to the view that rational belief is closed under logical (...) implication. (shrink)
This book is an eye-opening account of transnational advocacy, not by environmental and rights groups, but by conservative activists. Mobilizing around diverse issues, these networks challenge progressive foes across borders and within institutions. In these globalized battles, opponents struggle as much to advance their own causes as to destroy their rivals. Deploying exclusionary strategies, negative tactics and dissuasive ideas, they aim both to make and unmake policy. In this work, Clifford Bob chronicles combat over homosexuality and gun control in the (...) UN, the Americas, Europe and elsewhere. He investigates the 'Baptist-burqa' network of conservative believers attacking gay rights, and the global gun coalition blasting efforts to control firearms. Bob draws critical conclusions about norms, activists and institutions, and his broad findings extend beyond the culture wars. They will change how campaigners fight, scholars study policy wars, and all of us think about global politics. (shrink)
Current thinking suggests that dissociation could be a significant comorbid diagnosis in a proportion of schizophrenic patients with a history of trauma. This potentially may explain the term “schizophrenia” in its original definition by Bleuler, as influenced by his clinical experience and personal view. Additionally, recent findings suggest a partial overlap between dissociative symptoms and the positive symptoms of schizophrenia, which could be explained by inhibitory deficits. In this context, the process of dissociation could serve as an important conceptual framework (...) for understanding schizophrenia, which is supported by current neuroimaging studies and research of corollary discharges. These data indicate that the original conception of “split mind” may be relevant in an updated context. Finally, recent data suggest that the phenomenal aspects of dissociation and conscious disintegration could be related to underlying disruptions of connectivity patterns and neural integration. (shrink)
Previous research on associative learning has uncovered detailed aspects of the process, including what types of things are learned, how they are learned, and where in the brain such learning occurs. However, perceptual processes, such as stimulus recognition and identification, take time to unfold. Previous studies of learning have not addressed when, during the course of these dynamic recognition processes, learned representations are formed and updated. If learned representations are formed and updated while recognition is ongoing, the result of learning (...) may incorporate spurious, partial information. For example, during word recognition, words take time to be identified, and competing words are often active in parallel. If learning proceeds before this competition resolves, representations may be influenced by the preliminary activations present at the time of learning. In three experiments using word learning as a model domain, we provide evidence that learning reflects the ongoing dynamics of auditory and visual processing during a learning event. These results show that learning can occur before stimulus recognition processes are complete; learning does not wait for ongoing perceptual processing to complete. (shrink)
According to recent evidence, neurophysiological processes coupled to pain are closely related to the mechanisms of consciousness. This evidence is in accordance with findings that changes in states of consciousness during hypnosis or traumatic dissociation strongly affect conscious perception and experience of pain, and markedly influence brain functions. Past research indicates that painful experience may induce dissociated state and information about the experience may be stored or processed unconsciously. Reported findings suggest common neurophysiological mechanisms of pain and dissociation and point (...) to a hypothesis of dissociation as a defense mechanism against psychological and physical pain that substantially influences functions of consciousness. The hypothesis is also supported by findings that information can be represented in the mind/brain without the subject’s awareness. The findings of unconsciously present information suggest possible binding between conscious contents and self-functions that constitute self-representational dimensions of consciousness. The self-representation means that certain inner states of own body are interpreted as mental and somatic identity, while other bodily signals, currently not accessible to the dominant interpreter’s access are dissociated and may be defined as subliminal self-representations. In conclusion, the neurophysiological aspects of consciousness and its integrative role in the therapy of painful traumatic memories are discussed. (shrink)
Later works of C.G. Jung contain comprehensive descriptions of the relationship between psychological and physical research. These considerations described in Jung’s works and in his correspondence with Wolfgang Pauli represent interesting philosophical ideas that are related to interpretation of psychological data. The so-called “collective unconscious” studied by Jung in analysis of dream material, mythology, psychopathological symptoms, and several cultural manifestations led him to postulate complementarity and unity of scientific principles, and to define the psyche as complementary to physical reality. Likewise (...) recent neuroscientific studies and physical analyses on the role of the observer in physical reality led to the study of “quantum consciousness.” This review compares the philosophical postulates by Roger Penrose with Jung’s and Pauli’s studies, and suggests novel links of these concepts to recent findings of chaos theory in the brain. (shrink)
Previous work employing graph theory and nonlinear analysis has found increased spatial and temporal disorder, respectively, of functional brain connectivity in schizophrenia. We present a new method combining graph theory and nonlinear techniques that measures the temporal disorder of functional brain connections. Multichannel electroencephalographic data were windowed and functional networks were reconstructed using the minimum spanning trees of correlation matrices. Using a method based on Shannon entropy, we found elevated connection entropy in gamma activity of patients with schizophrenia; however, gamma (...) connection entropy remained elevated in patients with schizophrenia even after a reduction in symptoms due to treatment with antipsychotics. Our results are consistent with several possibilities: aberrant functional connectivity is epiphenomenal to schizophrenia, aberrant functional connectivity is a central feature but antipsychotics reduce symptoms by an independent mechanism, or connection entropy is not an appropriately sensitive measure of brain abnormalities in schizophrenia. (shrink)
Recent findings indicate that complex cognitive functions are organized at a global level in the brain and rely on large-scale information processing requiring functional integration of multiple disparate neural assemblies. The critical question of the integration of distributed brain activities is whether the essential integrative role can be attributed to a specific structure in the brain or whether this ability is inherent to the cognitive network as a whole. The results of the present study show that mean values of the (...) running correlation function in frontal-temporal EEG pairs with one electrode in the anterior cingulate cortex are significantly higher than the same values in other frontal-temporal pairs. These findings indicate a particular role of the ACC in large-scale communication, which could reflect its unique integrative functions in cognitive processing. (shrink)
This article presents Paul Ricœur’s hermeneutic of the productive imagination as a methodological tool for understanding the innovative social function of texts that in exceeding their semantic meaning, iconically augment reality. Through the reasoning of Rastafari elder Mortimo Planno’s unpublished text, Rastafarian: The Earth’s Most Strangest Man, and the religious and biblical signification from the music of his most famous postulate, Bob Marley, this article applies Paul Ricœur’s schema of the religious productive imagination to conceptualize the metaphoric transfer from text (...) to life of verbal and iconic images of Rastafari’s hermeneutic of word, sound and power. This transformation is accomplished through what Ricœur terms the phenomenology of the iconic augmentation of reality. Understanding this semantic innovation is critical to understanding the capacity of the religious imagination to transform reality as a proclamation of hope in the midst of despair. (shrink)
This essay examines the songwriting art of Bob Dylan as a vehicle for exploring and clarifying elements in Bernard Lonergan’s analysis of art. The elements focused upon include Lonergan’s treatment of symbols and symbolic meaning as the communicative medium of art, and, at greater length, Lonergan’s account of art’s capacity for what he calls “ulterior significance,” its ability to suggest depths of meaning—including divine or ultimate meaning—that we surmise to lie beyond our comprehension. Examining songs from the full range of (...) Dylan’s fifty-year career, the essay shows that from his early songwriting in the “folk” tradition and his breakthrough achievements of the mid-1960s, Dylan’s best art has been characterized by an unusual concision and power in its use of symbolic imagery, as well as by a recurrent ability to evoke, with artistic originality and effectiveness, mysteries of “ulterior significance.” These analyses are then brought together in a discussion of the religious, often eschatological, character of some of Dylan’s most significant work. (shrink)
This essay—originally a conference response to Glenn Hughes’ essay—explores how themes and notions in Lonergan’s philosophy of art extend in surprising and often unnoticed ways into the larger whole of Lonergan’s thought. By the same token, the broader framework of Lonergan’s philosophy sheds a great deal of interesting light on his philosophy of art. The essay explores this mutual illumination in the context of Hughes’ reflections on “ulterior significance.” For example, it relates Lonergan’s notion of art to his heuristic of (...) human development as an intertwining or interlocking of the organic, psychic, intellectual, and religious levels in human development. It also relates Lonergan’s notion of art, together with his recognition of the centrality of the symbolic in human living, to his treatment of the permanent human needs for liberation from “the ready-made world,” for the sense of the unknown, and for orientation into mystery—even for orientation into ultimate mystery. (shrink)
[Michael Potter] If arithmetic is not analytic in Kant's sense, what is its subject matter? Answers to this question can be classified into four sorts according as they posit logic, experience, thought or the world as the source, but in each case we need to appeal to some further process if we are to generate a structure rich enough to represent arithmetic as standardly practised. I speculate that this further process is our reflection on the subject matter already obtained. This (...) suggestion seems problematic, however, since it seems to rest on a confusion between the empirical and the metaphysical self. /// [Bob Hale] Michael Potter considers several versions of the view that the truths of arithmetic are analytic and finds difficulties with all of them. There is, I think, no gainsaying his claim that arithmetic cannot be analytic in Kant's sense. However, his pessimistic assessment of the view that what is now widely called Hume's principle can serve as an analytic foundation for arithmetic seems to me unjustified. I consider and offer some answers to the objections he brings against it. (shrink)
Bob Hale’s distinguished record of research places him among the most important and influential contemporary analytic metaphysicians. In his deep, wide ranging, yet highly readable book Necessary Beings, Hale draws upon, but substantially integrates and extends, a good deal his past research to produce a sustained and richly textured essay on — as promised in the subtitle — ontology, modality, and the relations between them. I’ve set myself two tasks in this review: first, to provide a reasonably thorough (if not (...) exactly comprehensive) overview of the structure and content of Hale’s book and, second, to a limited extent, to engage Hale’s book philosophically. I approach these tasks more or less sequentially: Parts I and 2 of the review are primarily expository; in Part 3 I adopt a somewhat more critical stance and raise several issues concerning one of the central elements of Hale’s account, his essentialist theory of modality. (shrink)
Bob Solomon enjoyed humor, a good laugh. He was not a teller and collector of jokes or of humorous stories, as Ted Cohen and Noël Carroll are. He did not cultivate clever witticisms. Rather, his interest was in viewing life’s contingency and absurdity for the humor that can be found there, and the target of this humor was as likely to be himself or his friends as it was to be strangers. Bob also displayed philosophical courage. He once argued before (...) an incredulous audience of philosophers that the Three Stooges are funny, and admitted unashamedly to being a life-long devotee. In the published version of that talk he observes: “few adults in their chosen professions would dare attempt a Stooges gesture at risk of being terminally dismissed, but most men carry the secret knowledge around with them, and, in a wild fit of catharsis, display a tell-tale Stooges gesture when the door closes and the boss is out of view. I only hesitate to suggest that it is one of the most basic bonds between men, and perhaps the fact that it mystifies and sometimes horrifies women is far more elemental than the mere phrase ‘a sense of humor’ could ever suggest”. (shrink)
This article focuses on Bob Zajonc’s views on unconscious emotion, especially in the context of the debates about the independence of affect and cognition. Historically, Bob was always interested in the “mere”—basic, fundamental processes. His empirical demonstrations of precognitive and preconscious emotional processes, combined with his elegant expositions of them, sharply contrasted with cold and complex cognitive models. Interestingly, Bob tended to believe that whereas the causes of emotion can be unconscious, the emotional state itself tends to be conscious. However, (...) he reconsidered this assumption and in his later work showed that subjects in affective priming experiments do not experience conscious affect, but instead act on basic preferences. Today, Bob’s insights continue to inspire research on “unconscious emotion.”. (shrink)
Bob Solomon used to inveigh against William James’ theory of emotions, but he eventually arrived at a rapprochement with James and James’s recent successors. In particular, James suggested that emotions are initiated by the “automatic, instinctive” appraisals that register important information in the body and are recorded by body-mapping brain areas. In recent work Solomon describes the judgments he thinks constitute emotions as felt bodily appraisals in similar fashion.
Bob Brecher raises a critique of professional ethics on the basis that it is less concerned with the protection of the public and is more a legalistic device that protects professionals from being accountable, often by defining certain issues out of court. His argument is criticised on the basis that it focuses upon the existing professions, and does not address the general idea of professionalism. This paper presents professionalism as being based in the idea of a job well done, which (...) in turn has to be understood in the context of the long-range needs of the full person, not in narrowly defined task terms. Supplementary arguments of Brecher, such as the primacy of morality, and his adaptation of Kant’s third formulation of the categorical imperative, are also commented upon and critiqued. (shrink)
Bob B. He: Two-dimensional X-ray diffraction Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 1-2 DOI 10.1007/s10698-011-9135-8 Authors George B. Kauffman, Department of Chemistry, California State University, Fresno, Fresno, CA 93740-8034, USA Journal Foundations of Chemistry Online ISSN 1572-8463 Print ISSN 1386-4238.
As we begin our exploration of our relationship with animals, we come face to face with Peter Singer and his insistence that speciesism is a vice. It is important to come to know what he means by speciesism, why he regards it as a moral mistake.
I attempt in this paper to do two things: to offer some comments about recent discussions of the suggested institutionalization of surrogacy agreements; and in doing so, to draw attention to a range of considerations which liberals tend to omit from their moral assessments. The main link between these concerns is the idea that what people want is a fundamental justification for their getting it. I believe that this idea is profoundly mistaken; yet it is an inevitable consequence of a (...) liberal notion of the individual and liberals' extremely limited conception of harm. My intention, then, is to illustrate how unease about a concrete problem—whether or not surrogacy agreements should be institutionalized—might interact with dissatisfaction about liberal individualism to make clearer what the unease consists in and to suggest why liberal individualism is inadequate as a basis for moral philosophy. (shrink)