Organisms engage in various activities that are directed at objects, whether real or imagined. Such activities may be termed “intentional relations.” We present a four-level framework of social understanding that organizes the ways in which social organisms represent the intentional relations of themselves and other agents. We presuppose that the information available to an organism about its own intentional relations is qualitatively different from the information available to that organism about other agents’ intentional relations. However, through the integration of these (...) two sources of information, it is possible to generate representations of intentional relations that are uniformly applicable to the activities of both self and other. The four levels of the framework differ in the extent to which such integration occurs and in the degree to which imagination is involved in generating these representations. Most animals exist at the lowest level, at which integration of first and third person sources of information does not occur. Of nonhuman species, only great apes exhibit social understanding at intermediate levels, at which integration of these sources of information provides uniform representations of intentional relations. Only humans attain the highest level, at which it is possible to represent intentional relations with mental objects. We propose that with the development of the imagination, children progress through three stages, equivalent to the later three levels of the framework. The abnormalities in social understanding of autistic individuals are hypothesized to result from a failure to develop integrated representations of intentional relations. (shrink)
The majority of people show persistent poor performance in reasoning about “stock-flow problems” in the laboratory. An important example is the failure to understand the relationship between the “stock” of CO2 in the atmosphere, the “inflow” via anthropogenic CO2 emissions, and the “outflow” via natural CO2 absorption. This study addresses potential causes of reasoning failures in the CO2 accumulation problem and reports two experiments involving a simple re-framing of the task as managing an analogous financial budget. In Experiment 1 a (...) financial version of the task that required participants to think in terms of controlling debt demonstrated significant improvements compared to a standard CO2 accumulation problem. Experiment 2, in which participants were invited to think about managing savings, suggested that this improvement was fortuitous and coincidental rather than due to a fundamental change in understanding the stock-flow relationships. The role of graphical information in aiding or abetting stock-flow reasoning was also explored in both experiments, with the results suggesting that graphs do not always assist understanding. The potential for leveraging the kind of reasoning exhibited in such tasks in an effort to change people's willingness to reduce CO2 emissions is briefly discussed. (shrink)
The Phaedrus depicts the Platonic Socrates’ most explicit exhortation to ‘philosophy’. The dialogue thereby reveals something of his idea of its nature. Unfortunately, what it reveals has been obscured by two habits in the scholarship: to ignore the remarks Socrates makes about ‘philosophy’ that do not arise in the ‘Palinode’; and to treat many of those remarks as parodies of Isocrates’ competing definition of the term. I remove these obscurities by addressing all fourteen remarks about ‘philosophy’ and by showing that (...) for none do we have reason to attribute to them Isocratean meaning. We thereby learn that ‘philosophy’ does not refer essentially to contemplation of the forms but to conversation concerned with selfimprovement and the pursuit of truth. (shrink)
Among our earliest extant references to the word ‘philosophize’ is an unfamiliar one, from the mythographer Herodorus of Pontic Heraclea, whose son Bryson associated with Plato and Aristotle. A Byzantine compiler quotes Herodorus, probably from his book on Heracles, as saying that his hero ‘philosophized until death’. This is a surprising claim in light of the fifth/fourth-centuryb.c.view of Heracles as long-toiling but not intellectual. Euripides'Licymniuscharacterizes him as ‘unimpressive and unadorned, good to the greatest degree, confined from allsophiain action, unversed in (...) talking’. Heracles is thus explicitly distinguished from those who strive for dialectical understanding or theoretical knowledge. (shrink)
In this book, the first systematic study of Socrates' reflections on self-knowledge, Christopher Moore examines the ancient precept 'Know yourself' and, drawing on Plato, Aristophanes, Xenophon, and others, reconstructs and reassesses the arguments about self-examination, personal ideals, and moral maturity at the heart of the Socratic project. What has been thought to be a purely epistemological or metaphysical inquiry turns out to be deeply ethical, intellectual, and social. Knowing yourself is more than attending to your beliefs, discerning the structure of (...) your soul, or recognizing your ignorance - it is constituting yourself as a self who can be guided by knowledge toward the good life. This is neither a wholly introspective nor a completely isolated pursuit: we know and constitute ourselves best through dialogue with friends and critics. This rich and original study will be of interest to researchers in the philosophy of Socrates, selfhood, and ancient thought. (shrink)
This article argues that Aristophanes'Cloudstreats Socrates as distinctly interested in promoting self-knowledge of the sort related to self-improvement. Section I shows that Aristophanes links the precept γνῶθι σαυτόν with Socrates. Section II outlines the meaning of that precept for Socrates. Section III describes Socrates' conversational method in theCloudsas aimed at therapeutic self-revelation. Section IV identifies the patron Cloud deities of Socrates' school as also concerned to bring people to a therapeutic self-understanding, albeit in a different register from that of Socrates. (...) Section V discusses a sequence of jokes connected to ‘stripping’ that give a concrete image to the search for self-knowledge. Both the action of the Clouds and the tales of cloak-stripping provide models for understanding self-knowledge in a Socratic key. Section VI argues that Socrates' other interest in thephrontistērion, myth-rationalization, is consistent with the promotion of self-knowledge. Section VII supports the claim that Plato'sPhaedrusalludes constantly to theClouds, and because thePhaedruspays careful attention to self-knowledge, Plato must think that theCloudsdoes too. It notes in particular that we can explain the Platonic Socrates' famous self-knowledge-related curiosity about his similarity to Typhon as Plato's allusion to Aristophanes, an allusion made apt by Aristophanes' coordination of Socrates with self-knowledge. Section VIII concludes the paper. (shrink)
A second-person approach that prioritizes dyadic emotional interaction is not well equipped to explain the origins of the understanding of mind conceived as intentionality. Instead, the critical elements that will deliver the understanding of self and other as persons with intentionality are shared object-centered interactions that include not only emotional engagement, but also joint attention and joint goal-directed action.
Socrates does not use the Laws' Speech in the Crito principally to persuade Crito to accept his coming execution. It is used instead to persuade Crito to examine and work on his inadequate view of justice. Crito's view of justice fails to coordinate one's duties to friends and those to the law. The Laws' Speech accomplishes this persuasive goal by accompanying Crito?s earlier speech. Both start from the same view of justice, one that Crito accepts, but reach opposing conclusions. Crito (...) cannot judge between the two appealing speeches. His understanding of justice is too confused for him to decide well how to help Socrates. His need to explain what happened the morning he visited Socrates will prompt him and others to examine this indeterminate view of justice. Socrates foregoes direct refutation because Crito will not abide that usual way of interrogation. Engaging in short question-and-answer conversation is not the only way to bring a person to aporia and the intention to examine oneself. Socrates does not here undermine his assertions in the Apology about his ignorance, lack of interest in teaching, constant philosophizing, and his belief that what he does is question, examine, and test those he talks to. (shrink)
Engineering educators have long discussed the need to teach professional responsibility and the social context of engineering without adding to overcrowded curricula. One difficulty we face is the lack of appropriate teaching materials that can fit into existing courses. The PRiME (Professional Responsibility Modules for Engineering) Project (http://www.engr.utexas.edu/ethics/primeModules.cfm) described in this paper was initiated at the University of Texas, Austin to provide web-based modules that could be integrated into any undergraduate engineering class. Using HPL (How People Learn) theory, PRiME developed (...) and piloted four modules during the academic year 2004–2005. This article introduces the modules and the pilot, outlines the assessment process, analyzes the results, and describes how the modules are being revised in light of the initial assessment. In its first year of development and testing, PRiME made significant progress towards meeting its objectives. The PRiME Project can strengthen engineering education by providing faculty with an effective system for engaging students in learning about professional responsibility. (shrink)
By focusing primarily on communication between adult and child and on adult-set criteria for appropriate action, Carpendale & Lewis's (C&L's) account of the development of social understanding in the epistemic triangle tends toward an enculturation view, while diminishing the role of individuals. What their proposed mechanism fails to acknowledge is that the two agents in the epistemic triangle necessarily have independent perspectives of the object and of each other.
We consider the various criticisms and requests for clarification made by the commentators of our framework for understanding intentional relations. Our response is organized according to the main themes in the target article: general theory, phylogeny, development, and autism. We also add some discussion of further issues, such as simulation and moral theory, that were not addressed in the target article.
The integration of first-, second-, and third-personal information within joint intentional collaboration provides the foundation for broad-based second-personal morality. We offer two additions to this framework: a description of the developmental process through which second-personal competence emerges from early triadic interactions, and empirical evidence that collaboration with a concrete goal may provide an essential focal point for this integrative process.
We doubt that primary sociopathy is adaptive, for three reasons: First, its prevalence is too low to require an adaptive explanation. Second, a common sequela of damage to the orbito-frontal lobes is Any pattern of behavior that can be produced by brain damage is unlikely to be adaptive. Third, we argue that most human social behavior is not under tight genetic control, but is produced by open-ended calculation of fitness-contingencies.
Socrates’ second speech in the Phaedrus includes the argument (245c6–246a2) that starts “all/every soul is immortal” (“ψυχὴ πᾶσα ἀθάνατος”).1 This argument has attracted attention for its austerity and placement in Socrates’ grand speech about chariots and love. Yet it has never been identified as a deliberately fallacious argument.2 This article argues that it is. Socrates intends to confront his interlocutor Phaedrus with a dubious sequence of reasoning. He does so to show his speech-loving friend how—rather than simply to tell him (...) that—analytic as much as imagistic speech can persuade without deserving conviction.It has been shown in recent years that on four other occasions Socrates deliberately utters bad .. (shrink)
This paper investigates Aristotle’s canonical analysis of σωφροσύνη in Nicomachean Ethics 3.10–12 against the background of earlier and subsequent uses, and analyses of the virtue term. It argues that Aristotle’s is an outlier, brilliant but factitious, created to fit a theoretical scheme rather than reflect Greek understanding. Aristotle obscures the creativity of his account, presenting it as an ordinary language conceptual clarification that it is not. Many contemporary readers accept Aristotle’s narrow theory—that σωφροσύνη is moderation with respect to those pleasures (...) of touch related to nutrition and reproduction—as true, which may indicate that they are insufficiently familiar with fifth- and fourth-century literary, intellectual, and philosophical uses of the term. An important problem with this acceptance is that it prevents readers from recognizing the equal plausibility of non-Aristotelian accounts of σωφροσύνη, for example those found in Plato’s Charmides and other dialogues. (shrink)
We argue that friendship is constituted in the practice of narration, not merely identifi ed through psychological or sociological criteria. We show that whether two people have, as Aristotle argues, ‘lived together’ in ‘mutually acknowledged goodwill’ can be determined only through a narrative reconstruction of a shared past. We demonstrate this with a close reading of Thomas Bernhard’s Wittgenstein’s Nephew: A Friendship (1982). We argue that this book provides not only an illustration but also an enactment of the practice of (...) friendship as the urge to redeem—and thus to instantiate—Aristotelian suzên (‘living together’) by means of its telling. (shrink)
Neural reuse theories should interest developmental psychologists because these theories can potentially illuminate the developmental relations among psychological characteristics observed across the lifespan. Characteristics that develop by exploiting pre-existing neural circuits can be thought of as developmental homologues. And, understood in this way, the homology concept that has proven valuable for evolutionary biologists can be used productively to study psychological/behavioral development.
This paper argues that Socrates’s baffling digression on Spartan philosophy, just before he interprets Simonides’s ode, gives a key to the whole of Plato’s Protagoras. It undermines simple distinctions between competition and cooperation in philosophy, and thus in the discussions throughout the dialogue. It also prepares for Socrates’s interpretation of Simonides’s ode as a questionable critique of Pittacus’s sage wisdom “Hard it is to be good.” This critique stands as a figure for the dialogue’s contrast between Protagoras’s and Socrates’s pedagogical (...) methods. Protagoras advances an emulative view of education against Socrates’s self-knowledge model. The paper concludes with some thoughts on Protagoras’s claim that talking about poetry is as much about virtue as the earlier back-and-forth exchange about virtue’s unity and teachability. (shrink)