Carrie Figdor presents a critical assessment of how psychological terms are used to describe the non-human biological world. She argues against the anthropocentric attitude which takes human cognition as the standard against which non-human capacities are measured, and offers an alternative basis for naturalistic explanation of the mind.
Consider the following situation. It is the first day of school, and the new third-grade students file into the classroom to be shown to their seats for the coming year. As they enter, the third-grade teacher notices one small boy who is particularly unkempt. He looks to be in desperate need of bathing, and his clothes are dirty, torn and tight-fitting. During recess, the teacher pulls aside the boy's previous teacher and asks about his wretched condition. The other teacher informs (...) her that he always looks that way, even though the boy's family is quite wealthy. The reason he appears as he does, she continues, is that the family observes an odd practice according to which the children do not receive many important things – food, clothing, bathing, even shelter – unless they specifically request them. Since the boy, like many third-graders, has little interest in bathing and clean clothes, he just never asks for them. (shrink)
Many empirically minded philosophers have used neuroscientific data to argue against the multiple realization of cognitive functions in existing biological organisms. I argue that neuroscientists themselves have proposed a biologically based concept of multiple realization as an alternative to interpreting empirical findings in terms of one‐to‐one structure‐function mappings. I introduce this concept and its associated research framework and also how some of the main neuroscience‐based arguments against multiple realization go wrong. *Received October 2009; revised December 2009. †To contact the author, (...) please write to: Department of Philosophy, 260 English‐Philosophy Building, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242; e‐mail: carrie‐firstname.lastname@example.org. (shrink)
Humanists argue for assigning the highest moral status to all humans over any non-humans directly or indirectly on the basis of uniquely superior human cognitive abilities. They may also claim that humanism is the strongest position from which to combat racism, sexism, and other forms of within-species discrimination. I argue that changing conceptual foundations in comparative research and discoveries of advanced cognition in many non-human species reveal humanism’s psychological speciesism and its similarity with common justifications of within-species discrimination.
Is the Germanic god Wotan really an archaic archetype of the Spirit? Was the Third Reich at first a collective individuation process? After Friedrich Nietzsche heralded the "death of God," might the divine have been reborn as a collective form of self-redemption on German soil and in the Germanic soul? In _Jung’s Wandering Archetype_ Carrie Dohe presents a study of Jung’s writings on Germanic psychology from 1912 onwards, exploring the links between his views on religion and race and providing (...) his perspective on the answers to these questions. Dohe demonstrates how Jung’s view of Wotan as an archetype of the collective Germanic psyche was created from a combination of an ancient discourse on the Germanic barbarian and modern theories of primitive religion, and how he further employed _völkisch_ ideology and various colonialist discourses to contrast hypothesized Germanic, Jewish and ‘primitive’ psychologies. He saw Germanic psychology as dangerous yet vital, promising rebirth and rejuvenation, and compared Wotan to the Pentecostal Spirit, suggesting that the Germanic psyche contained the necessary tension to birth a new collective psycho-spiritual attitude. In racializing his religiously-inflected psychological theory, Jung combined religious and scientific discourses in a particularly seductive way, masterfully weaving together the objective language of science with the eternal language of myth. Dohe concludes the book by examining the use of these ideas in modern Germanic religion, in which members claim that religion is a matter of race. This in-depth study of Jung’s views on psychology, race and spirituality will be fascinating reading for all academics and students of Jungian and post-Jungian studies, religious studies and the history of religion. (shrink)
I commend Mikhalevich & Powell for extending the discussion of cognition and its relation to moral status with their well researched and argued target article on invertebrate cognition. I have two small criticisms: that the scala naturae still retains its appeal to some in biology as well as psychology, and that drawing the line at invertebrates requires a bit more defense given the larger comparative cognitive-scientific context.
I separate two intrinsic/extrinsic distinctions that are often conflated: one between properties (the intrinsic/extrinsic, or I/E, distinction) and one between the ways in which properties are had by individuals (the intrinsically/extrinsically, or I-ly/E-ly, distinction). I propose an analysis of the I-ly/E-ly distinction and its relation to the I/E distinction that explains, inter alia, the puzzle of cross-classification: how it can be, for example, that the property of being square can be classified as an intrinsic property and yet individuals can be (...) square intrinsically or else extrinsically. (shrink)
One question of the bounds of cognition is that of which things have it. A scientifically relevant debate on this question must explain the persistent and selective use of psychological predicates to report findings throughout biology: for example, that neurons prefer, fruit flies and plants decide, and bacteria communicate linguistically. This paper argues that these claims should enjoy default literal interpretation. An epistemic consequence is that these findings can contribute directly to understanding the nature of psychological capacities.
Work on the intrinsic/extrinsic distinction is often motivated by its use in other areas, such as intrinsic value, real vs. Cambridge change, supervenience and other topics. With the exception of Figdor 2008, philosophers have sought to articulate a global distinction -- a distinction between kinds of properties, rather than ways in which individuals have properties. I argue that global I/E distinctions are unable to do the work that allegedly motivates them, focusing on the case of intrinsic value.
When a society is characterized by a climate of distrust, how does this impact the professional practices of news journalism? I focus on the practice of balance, or fair presentation of both sides in a story. I articulate a two-step model of how trust modulates the acceptance of tes-timony and draw out its implications for justifying the practice of balance.
The importance of John Locke's discussion of persons is undeniable. Locke never explicitly tells us whether he thinks persons are substances or modes, however. We are thus left in the dark about a fundamental aspect of Locke's view. Many commentators have recently claimed that Lockean persons are modes. In this paper I swim against the current tide in the secondary literature and argue that Lockean persons are substances. Specifically I argue that what Locke says about substance, power, and agency commits (...) him to the claim that persons are substances. I consider the passages mode interpreters cite and show why these passages do not imply that Lockean persons are modes. I also respond to two objections anyone who thinks Lockean persons are substances must address. I show that a substance reading of Locke on persons can be sympathetic and viable. I contend that with a clearer understanding of the ontological status of Lockean persons we can gain a firmer grasp of what Locke's picture of persons looks like. Finally, once we are armed with a better understanding of Locke on substance, mode, and personhood, we can pave the way toward a more nuanced description of the early modern debate over personal identity. (shrink)
This chapter describes the conceptual foundations of cognitive science during its establishment as a science in the 20th century. It is organized around the core ideas of individual agency as its basic explanans and information-processing as its basic explanandum. The latter consists of a package of ideas that provide a mathematico-engineering framework for the philosophical theory of materialism.
Philosophical tradition has long held that free will is necessary for moral responsibility. We report experimental results that show that the folk do not think free will is necessary for moral responsibility. Our results also suggest that experimental investigation of the relationship is ill served by a focus on incompatibilism versus compatibilism. We propose an alternative framework for empirical moral psychology in which judgments of free will and moral responsibility can vary independently in response to many factors. We also suggest (...) that, in response to some factors, the necessity relation may run from responsibility to free will. (shrink)
To claim that Hayden White has yet to be read seriously as a philosopher of history might seem false on the face of it. But do tropes and the rest provide any epistemic rationale for differing representations of historical events found in histories? As an explanation of White’s influence on philosophy of history, such a proffered emphasis only generates a puzzle with regard to taking White seriously, and not an answer to the question of why his efforts should be worthy (...) of any philosophical attention at all. For what makes his emphasis on narrative structure and its associated tropes of philosophical relevance? What, it may well be asked, did any theory that draws its categories from a stock provided by literary criticism contribute to explicating problems with regard to the warranting of claims about knowledge, explanation, or causation that represent those concerns that philosophy typically brings to this field? Robert Doran’s anthologizing of previously uncollected pieces, ranging as they do over a literal half-century of White’s published work, offers an opportunity to identify explicitly those philosophical themes and arguments that regularly and prominently feature there. Moreover, White’s essays in this volume demonstrate a credible knowledge of and interest in mainstream analytic philosophers of his era and also reveal White as deeply influenced by or well acquainted with other important philosophers of history. White thus invites a reading of his work as philosophy, and this volume presents the opportunity for accepting it as such. (shrink)
I review a widely accepted argument to the conclusion that the contents of our beliefs, desires and other mental states cannot be causally efficacious in a classical computational model of the mind. I reply that this argument rests essentially on an assumption about the nature of neural structure that we have no good scientific reason to accept. I conclude that computationalism is compatible with wide semantic causal efficacy, and suggest how the computational model might be modified to accommodate this possibility.
This paper argues that the cognitive neuroscientific use of ordinary mental terms to report research results and draw implications can contribute to public confusion and misunderstanding regarding neuroscience results. This concern is raised at a time when cognitive neuroscientists are increasingly required by funding agencies to link their research to specific results of public benefit, and when neuroethicists have called for greater attention to public communication of neuroscience. The paper identifies an ethical dimension to the problem and presses for greater (...) sensitivity and responsibility among neuroscientists regarding their use of such terms. (shrink)
The lack of gender parity in philosophy has garnered serious attention recently. Previous empirical work that aims to quantify what has come to be called “the gender gap” in philosophy focuses mainly on the absence of women in philosophy faculty and graduate programs. Our study looks at gender representation in philosophy among undergraduate students, undergraduate majors, graduate students, and faculty. Our findings are consistent with what other studies have found about women faculty in philosophy, but we were able to add (...) two pieces of new information. First, the biggest drop in the proportion of women in philosophy occurs between students enrolled in introductory philosophy classes and philosophy majors. Second, this drop is mitigated by the presence of more women philosophy faculty. (shrink)
A common feature of contemporary policymaking is the sharing and adaptation of policies from other countries. As neo-liberal globalisation continues to impact on the development of policy, such practices are increasingly commonplace. This article considers the current phenomenon of ‘policy borrowing’ with reference to the use of data from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and the 2010 Schools White Paper The Importance of Teaching. The article also traces the origins of policy borrowing and shows what philosophy of education (...) can bring to its discourse. (shrink)
This paper summarizes recent and ongoing experimental work regarding the reality, nature, effects, and causes of the underrepresentation of women in academic philosophy. We first present empirical data on several aspects of underrepresentation, and then consider various reasons why this gender imbalance is problematic. We then turn to the published and preliminary results of empirical work aimed at identifying factors that might explain it.
The performance appraisal process is increasingly seen as a key link between employee behaviour and an organization’s strategic objectives. Unfortunately, performance reviews often fail to change how people work, and dissatisfaction with the appraisal process has been associated with general job dissatisfaction, lower organizational commitment, and increased intentions to quit. Recent research has identified a number of factors related to reactions to performance appraisals in general and appraisal satisfaction in particular. Beyond the appraisal outcome itself, researchers have found that appraisal (...) reactions are affected by perceptions of fairness and the relationship between the supervisor and the employee. To explain the relationships among these factors, the present article proposes a moral cognition perspective. We suggest that employees judge a performance appraisal from the perspective of its moral justifiability, and that appraisal reactions will be determined, at least in part, by the perceived moral justifiability of the process. The proposal was supported by results from a survey of government employees using measures of performance ratings, leader–member exchange, perceived utility, and organizational justice. (shrink)
One of the most basic questions an ontology can address is: How many things, or substances, are there? A monist will say, ‘just one’. But there are different stripes of monism, and where the borders between these different views lie rests on the question, ‘To what does this “oneness” apply?’ Some monists apply ‘oneness’ to existence. Others apply ‘oneness’ to types. Determining whether a philosopher is a monist and deciphering what this is supposed to mean is no easy task, especially (...) when it comes to those writing in the early modern period because many philosophers of the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries include God in their ontologies. InThe Principles,Anne Finch Conway offers an ontology that is often described as being both ‘vitalist’ and ‘monist’. I take this to mean that, for Conway, all that exists is in some way alive and that if asked ‘How many things, or substances, are there?’ Conway would say, ‘Just one’. But to what does this ‘oneness’ apply? And where does the point of disagreement between Conway and her interlocutors, Hobbes, Spinoza, More, and Descartes lie? In this paper, I argue that determining the answer to this first question turns out to be quite difficult. Nevertheless, we can still make sense of the second. (shrink)
This book unpicks the conceptual, ideological, and metaphysical tangles that get in the way of understanding romantic love. -/- Written for a general audience, What Love Is And What It Could Be explores different disciplinary perspectives on love, in search of the bigger picture. It presents a "dual-nature" theory: romantic love is simultaneously both a biological phenomenon and a social construct. The key philosophical insight comes in explaining why this a coherent—and indeed a necessary—position to take. -/- The deep motivation (...) behind this work is that we have a collective responsibility to figure out romantic love. It is a formidable and potentially dangerous force, its power underwritten by its twin footholds in our biological natures and in our most treasured social practices. Often we pretend that it is incomprehensible and out of control, but this is a way of abdicating our responsibility to understand love and fix it when it's broken. -/- What Love Is And What It Could Be explains that romantic love is currently broken in multiple interlocking ways, but also that we can change this status quo. Once we understand what love is, we will be able to take control of what it could be. (shrink)
This article clarifies three principles that should guide the development of any cognitive ontology. First, that an adequate cognitive ontology depends essentially on an adequate task ontology; second, that the goal of developing a cognitive ontology is independent of the goal of finding neural implementations of the processes referred to in the ontology; and third, that cognitive ontologies are neutral regarding the metaphysical relationship between cognitive and neural processes.
Many media critics believe news reports are inevitably biased and have urged journalists to abandon the objectivity norm. I show that the main arguments for inevitable bias fail but identify factors that make producing objective news difficult. I indicate what the next steps should be to understand bias in the news and to combat it.
Internal mechanisms that uphold the reliability of published scientific results have failed across many sciences, including some that are major sources of science news. Traditional methods for reporting science in the mass media do not effectively compensate for this unreliability. I argue for a new conceptual framework in which science journalists and scientists form a complex knowledge community, with science news as the interdisciplinary product. This approach motivates forms of collaboration and training that can improve the epistemic reliability of science (...) news. (shrink)
There are many reasons to include texts written by women in early modern philosophy courses. The most obvious one is accuracy: women helped to shape the philosophical landscape of the time. Thus, to craft a syllabus that wholly excludes women is to give students an inaccurate picture of the early modern period. Since it seems safe to assume that we all aim for accuracy, this should be reason enough to include women writers in our courses. This article nonetheless offers an (...) additional reason: when students are exposed to philosophical texts written by women, they learn that women have been, are, and can be philosophers. Given how underrepresented women are in philosophy, this finding is significant. If we aim to change the face of philosophy—so that it includes more women—we must include texts written by women in our syllabi. The article considers various obstacles faced by those who work to respond to this call to action. (shrink)
I introduce and defend verbialism, a metaphysical framework appropriate for accommodating the mind within the natural sciences and the mechanistic model of explanation that ties the natural sciences together. Verbialism is the view that mental phenomena belong in the basic ontological category of activities. If mind is what brain does, then explaining the mind is explaining how it occurs, and the ontology of mind is verbialist -- at least, it ought to be. I motivate verbialism by revealing a kind of (...) inattentional blindness philosophers of mind have shown when it comes to conceiving of their explanandum as a kind of complex activity. I also show how the project of naturalizing the mind is altered when we correct for this inattention. (shrink)
Next SectionPublic and healthcare professionals differ in their attitudes towards euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide (PAS), the legal status of which is currently in the spotlight in the UK. In addition to medical training and experience, religiosity, locus of control and patient characteristics (eg, patient age, pain levels, number of euthanasia requests) are known influencing factors. Previous research tends toward basic designs reporting on attitudes in the context of just one or two potentially influencing factors; we aimed to test the comparative (...) importance of a larger range of variables in a sample of nursing trainees and non-nursing controls. One hundred and fifty-one undergraduate students (early-stage nursing training, late-stage nursing training and non-nursing controls) were approached on a UK university campus and asked to complete a self-report questionnaire. Participants were of mixed gender and were on average 25.5 years old. No significant differences in attitude were found between nursing and non-nursing students. There was a significant positive correlation between higher religiosity and positive attitude toward euthanasia (r=0.19, p<0.05) and a significant negative relationship between internal locus of control and positive attitude toward PAS (r=−0.263, p<0.01). Multivariate analyses revealed differing predictor models for attitudes towards euthanasia and PAS, and confirm the importance of individual differences in determining these attitudes. The unexpected direction of association between religiosity and attitudes may reflect a broader cultural shift in attitudes since earlier research in this area. Furthermore, these findings suggest it possible that experience, more than training itself, may be a bigger influence on attitudinal differences in healthcare professionals. (shrink)
In this essay I raise a dilemma for science journalists based on recent skepticism raised by scientists about the credibility of published results in many fields. Due to systematic biases in the publication record, most published findings in these fields (including psychology and biological subfields) are almost certainly false. So should science reporters stop reporting these findings, given their mission to report verified truths? Or should they report the findings while saying they are almost certainly false?
Immanuel Kant’s moral philosophy, political philosophy, and philosophy of judgement have been and continue to be widely discussed among many scholars. The impact of his thinking is beyond doubt and his ideas continue to inspire and encourage an on-going dialogue among many people in our world today. Given the historical and philosophical significance of Kant’s moral, political, and aesthetic theory, and the connection he draws between these theories and the appropriate function and methodology of education, it is surprising that relatively (...) little has been written on Kant’s contribution to education theory. Recently, however, internationally recognized Kant scholars such as Paul Guyer, Manfred Kuehn, Richard Velkley, Robert Louden, Susan Shell, and others have begun to turn their attention to Kant’s writings on education and the role of education in cultivating moral character. _Kant and Education: Interpretations and Commentary_ has gathered these scholars together with the aim of filling this perceived void in Kant scholarship. All of the essays contained within this volume will examine either Kant’s ideas on education through an historical analysis of his texts; or the importance and relevance of his moral philosophy, political philosophy, and/or aesthetics in contemporary education theory. (shrink)