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David Spurrett [43]D. Spurrett [9]David Jon Spurrett [5]
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David Spurrett
University of KwaZulu-Natal
  1. In Defence of Scientism.Don Ross, James Ladyman & David Spurrett - 2007 - In James Ladyman (ed.), Every Thing Must Go: Metaphysics Naturalized. Oxford University Press.
  2.  33
    Affording Affordances.David Spurrett - forthcoming - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy.
    A striking feature of the latest version of Dennett’s ‘big picture’ of the evolution of life and mind is frequent reference to ‘affordances’. An affordance is, roughly, a possibility for action for a creature in an environment. Given more than one possibility for action, a good question is: what will the creature actually do? I argue that affordances pose a problem of selection, and that a good general solution to this problem of mind-design is to implement a system of preferences.
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  3.  13
    Complexity and Post-Modernism: Understanding Complex Systems.P. Cilliers & David Spurrett - 1999 - South African Journal of Philosophy 18 (2):258-274.
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  4. A Note on the Completeness of "Physics".David Spurrett & David Papineau - 1999 - Analysis 59 (1):25-29.
  5. Notions of Cause: Russell's Thesis Revisited.Don Ross & David Spurrett - 2007 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 58 (1):45-76.
    We discuss Russell's 1913 essay arguing for the irrelevance of the idea of causation to science and its elimination from metaphysics as a precursor to contemporary philosophical naturalism. We show how Russell's application raises issues now receiving much attention in debates about the adequacy of such naturalism, in particular, problems related to the relationship between folk and scientific conceptual influences on metaphysics, and to the unification of a scientifically inspired worldview. In showing how to recover an approximation to Russell's conclusion (...)
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  6. Philosophers Should Be Interested in ‘Common Currency’ Claims in the Cognitive and Behavioural Sciences.David Spurrett - 2014 - South African Journal of Philosophy 33 (2):211-221.
    A recurring claim in a number of behavioural, cognitive and neuro-scientific literatures is that there is, or must be, a unidimensional ‘common currency’ in which the values of different available options are represented. There is striking variety in the quantities or properties that have been proposed as determinants of the ordering in motivational strength. Among those seriously suggested are pain and pleasure, biological fitness, reward and reinforcement, and utility among economists, who have regimented the notion of utility in a variety (...)
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  7. Cartwright on Laws and Composition.David Jon Spurrett - 2000 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 15 (3):253 – 268.
    Cartwright attempts to argue from an analysis of the composition of forces, and more generally the composition of laws, to the conclusion that laws must be regarded as false. A response to Cartwright is developed which contends that properly understood composition poses no threat to the truth of laws, even though agreeing with Cartwright that laws do not satisfy the "facticity" requirement. My analysis draws especially on the work of Creary, Bhaskar, Mill, and points towards a general rejection of Cartwright's (...)
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  8. What to Say to a Skeptical Metaphysician? A Defense Manual for Cognitive and Behavioral Scientists.Don Ross & David Spurrett - 2004 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (5):603-627.
    A wave of recent work in metaphysics seeks to undermine the anti-reductionist, functionalist consensus of the past few decades in cognitive science and philosophy of mind. That consensus apparently legitimated a focus on what systems do, without necessarily and always requiring attention to the details of how systems are constituted. The new metaphysical challenge contends that many states and processes referred to by functionalist cognitive scientists are epiphenomenal. It further contends that the problem lies in functionalism itself, and that, to (...)
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  9.  15
    A Note on the Completeness of 'Physics'.D. Spurrett & D. Papineau - 1999 - Analysis 59 (1):25-29.
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  10.  47
    Physicalism as an Empirical Hypothesis.David Spurrett - 2017 - Synthese 194 (9):3347-3360.
    Bas van Fraassen claims that materialism involves false consciousness. The thesis that matter is all that there is, he says, fails to rule out any kinds of theories. The false consciousness consists in taking materialism to be cognitive rather than an existential stance, or attitude, of deference to the current content of science in matters of ontology, and a favourable attitude to completeness claims about the content of science at a time. The main argument Van Fraassen provides for saying that (...)
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  11.  21
    Does Intragenomic Conflict Predict Intrapersonal Conflict?David Spurrett - 2016 - Biology and Philosophy 31 (3):313-333.
    Parts of the genome of a single individual can have conflicting interests, depending on which parent they were inherited from. One mechanism by which these conflicts are expressed in some taxa, including mammals, is genomic imprinting, which modulates the level of expression of some genes depending on their parent of origin. Imprinted gene expression is known to affect body size, brain size, and the relative development of various tissues in mammals. A high fraction of imprinted gene expression occurs in the (...)
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  12.  16
    Distributed Cognition and the Will: Individual Volition and Social Context.David Spurrett, Don Ross, Harold Kincaid & Lynn Stephens (eds.) - 2007 - MIT Press.
    Philosophers and behavioral scientists discuss what, if anything, of the traditionalconcept of individual conscious will can survive recent scientific discoveries that humandecision-making is distributed across different brain processes and ...
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  13. A Note on the Completeness of ‘Physics’.David Spurrett & Papineau - 1999 - Analysis 59 (1):25-29.
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  14.  68
    What Is Addiction?Don Ross, Harold Kincaid & David Spurrett (eds.) - 2010 - The MIT Press.
    Leading addiction researchers survey the latest findings in addiction science, countering the simplistic cultural stereotypes of the addict.
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  15.  9
    The Natural History of Desire.David Spurrett - 2015 - South African Journal of Philosophy 34 (3):304-313.
    Sterelny (2003) develops an idealised natural history of folk-psychological kinds. He argues that belief-like states are natural elaborations of simpler control systems, called detection systems, which map directly from environmental cue to response. Belief-like states exhibit robust tracking (sensitivity to multiple environmental states), and response breadth (occasioning a wider range of behaviours). The development of robust tracking and response-breadth depend partly on properties of the informational environment. In a transparent environment the functional relevance of states of the world is directly (...)
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  16. How to Do Things Without Words.D. Spurrett & S. J. Cowley - 2004 - Language Sciences 26 (5):443-466.
    Clark and Chalmers (1998) defend the hypothesis of an ‘Extended Mind’, maintaining that beliefs and other paradigmatic mental states can be implemented outside the central nervous system or body. Aspects of the problem of ‘language acquisition’ are considered in the light of the extended mind hypothesis. Rather than ‘language’ as typically understood, the object of study is something called ‘utterance-activity’, a term of art intended to refer to the full range of kinetic and prosodic features of the on-line behaviour of (...)
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  17.  31
    Why I Am Not an Analytic Philosopher.David Spurrett - 2008 - South African Journal of Philosophy 27 (2):153-163.
    From a certain simplistic and inaccurate, although regrettably popular, perspective philosophy, at least for the past few decades, is available only in two main flavours – analytic and continental. Some self-identified members of both camps are apt to endorse uncharitable caricatures of what the others are up to. Among the many lines of criticism that can be directed against this false dichotomy, I wish to focus on discussion of a broadly naturalistic orientation that rejects many of the commitments both of (...)
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  18. Fundamental Laws and the Completeness of Physics.David Jon Spurrett - 1999 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 13 (3):261 – 274.
    The status of fundamental laws is an important issue when deciding between the three broad ontological options of fundamentalism (of which the thesis that physics is complete is typically a sub-type), emergentism, and disorder or promiscuous realism. Cartwright’s assault on fundamental laws which argues that such laws do not, and cannot, typically state the facts, and hence cannot be used to support belief in a fundamental ontological order, is discussed in this context. A case is made in defence of a (...)
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  19.  54
    What Physical Properties Are.David Spurrett - 2001 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 82 (2):201-225.
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  20.  26
    Bhaskar on Open and Closed Systems.David Spurrett - 2000 - South African Journal of Philosophy 19 (3):188-209.
    Bhaskar's articulation of his ‘transcendental realism' includes an argument for a form of causal emergence which would mean the rejection of physicalism, by means of rejecting the causal closure of the physical. His argument is based on an analysis of the conditions for closure, where closed systems manifest regular or Humean relations between events. Bhaskar argues that the project of seeking closure entails commitment to a strong reductionism, which in turn entails the impossibility of science itself, and concludes that we (...)
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  21.  10
    The Extended Infant: Utterance Activity and Distributed Cognition.David Spurrett & Stephen Cowley - 2010 - In Richard Menary (ed.), The Extended Mind. MIT Press.
    This chapter applies the parity principle in discussing “active externalism,” which claims that the mind need not be confined within either the brain or body. Consequently, how one brain or body interacts with other brains and bodies must be explored, together with the problems that may arise out of this interaction. This chapter is not concerned with beliefs and desires as mental states but whether they play a role in controlling behavior. It argues the notion that any course of action (...)
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  22.  38
    Distributed Cognition and the Will: Individual Volition and Social Context.Don Ross, David Spurrett, Harold Kincaid & G. Lynn Stephens (eds.) - 2007 - Bradford.
    Recent scientific findings about human decision making would seem to threaten the traditional concept of the individual conscious will. The will is threatened from "below" by the discovery that our apparently spontaneous actions are actually controlled and initiated from below the level of our conscious awareness, and from "above" by the recognition that we adapt our actions according to social dynamics of which we are seldom aware. In Distributed Cognition and the Will, leading philosophers and behavioral scientists consider how much, (...)
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  23.  2
    What Physical Properties Are.David Spurrett - 2001 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 82 (2):201-225.
    This paper concerns the question of how to specify what is to count as physical for the purposes of debates concerning either physicalism or the completeness of physics. I argue that what is needed from an account of the physical depends primarily on the particular issue at stake, and that the demand for a general a priori specification of the physical is misplaced. A number of attempts to say what should be counted as physical are defended from recent attacks by (...)
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  24. The Completeness of Physics.David Spurrett - 1999 - Dissertation, University of Natal, Durban
    The present work is focussed on the completeness of physics, or what is here called the Completeness Thesis: the claim that the domain of the physical is causally closed. Two major questions are tackled: How best is the Completeness Thesis to be formulated? What can be said in defence of the Completeness Thesis? My principal conclusions are that the Completeness Thesis can be coherently formulated, and that the evidence in favour if it significantly outweighs that against it. In opposition to (...)
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  25.  7
    Transcendental Realism Defended: A Response to Allan.D. Spurrett - 1998 - South African Journal of Philosophy 17 (3):198-210.
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  26.  46
    Empiricism: Reloaded. [REVIEW]David Spurrett - 2012 - Metascience 21 (2):351-354.
    Empiricism: reloaded Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 1-4 DOI 10.1007/s11016-012-9652-7 Authors David Spurrett, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Howard College Campus, Durban, 4041 South Africa Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
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  27.  26
    Review of Burns, J. The Descent of Madness: Evolutionary Origins of Psychosis and the Social Brain. [REVIEW]D. Spurrett - 2009 - South African Journal of Philosophy 28 (2):257-258.
    Review of Burns, J. The Descent of Madness: Evolutionary Origins of Psychosis and the Social Brain (London: Routledge, 2007).
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  28.  1
    Common Currencies, Multiple Systems and Risk Cognition: Evolutionary Trade-Offs and the Problem of Efficient Choices.David Spurrett - 2016 - Journal of Cognition and Culture 16 (5):436-457.
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  29.  58
    The Cognitive and Behavioral Sciences: Real Patterns, Real Unity, Real Causes, but No-Supervenience - Response.Don Ross & David Spurrett - 2004 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (5):637-647.
    Our response amplifies our case for scientific realism and the unity of science and clarifies our commitments to scientific unity, nonreductionism, behaviorism, and our rejection of talk of “emergence.” We acknowledge support from commentators for our view of physics and, responding to pressure and suggestions from commentators, deny the generality supervenience and explain what this involves. We close by reflecting on the relationship between philosophy and science.
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  30.  24
    Hooray for Babies.D. Spurrett - 2011 - South African Journal of Philosophy 30 (2):197-206.
    David Benatar has argued that the coming into existence of a sentient being is always a harm, and consequently that people who have children always do wrong. The most natural objection maintains that in many lives (at least) while there is some pain, there are also goods (including pleasures) that can outweigh the suffering. From Benatar’s perspective this move, while possibly useful in assessing the lives of those who actually exist, is not an effective defence of procreation. In the case (...)
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  31.  22
    Reductionisms and Physicalisms.David Spurrett - 2006 - South African Journal of Philosophy 25 (2):159-170.
    Causal exclusion arguments, especially as championed by Kim, have recently made life uncomfortable for would-be non-reductive physicalists. Non-reductive physicalism was itself, in turn, partly a response to earlier arguments against reductionism. The philosophy of science, though, distinguishes more forms of reduction than philosophy of mind generally cares to. In this paper I review four major families of reductionist thesis, and give reasons for keeping them more carefully separate than usual. South African Journal of Philosophy Vol. 25(2) 2006: 159-171.
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  32.  21
    Reason is Normative, and Should Be Studied Accordingly.David Spurrett - 2011 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 34 (5):267-268.
    Reason aims at truth, so normative considerations are a proper part of the study of reasoning. Excluding them means neglecting some of what we know or can discover about reasoning. Also, the normativist position we are asked to reject by Elqayam & Evans (E&E) is defined in attenuated and self-contradictory ways.
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  33.  22
    It's Not Just the Subjects–There Are Too Many WEIRD Researchers.Michael Meadon & David Spurrett - 2010 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (2-3):104-105.
    A literature in which most data are outliers is flawed, and the target article sounds a timely alarm call for the behavioural sciences. It also suggests remedies. We mostly concur, except for arguing that the importance of the fact that the researchers themselves are mostly outliers has been underplayed. Improving matters requires non-Western researchers, as well as research subjects.
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  34.  34
    Jack Ritchie,Understanding Naturalism(Acumen, 2008).David Spurrett - 2011 - Philosophical Papers 40 (3):439-445.
    Philosophical Papers, Volume 40, Issue 3, Page 439-445, November 2011.
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  35.  24
    Need There Be a Common Currency for Decision-Making?D. Spurrett - 2009 - South African Journal of Philosophy 28 (2):210-221.
    According to various theorists and empirical scholars of behavior and decision, including economists, utility theorists, behavioral ecologists, behavioral economists and researchers in the new field of neuroeconomics the value (typically understood as utility) of competing choices must be represented on a common scale in order for them to count as competing at all, and in order for orderly comparison to lead to actual choices. For some neuroeconomists this means that expected (cardinal) utilities are neurally represented by firing rates of cells (...)
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  36.  19
    Why 'Appeals to Intuitions' Might Not Be so Bad.D. Spurrett - 2010 - South African Journal of Philosophy 29 (2):156-166.
    There has been lively recent debate over the value of appeals to intuitions in philosophy. Some, especially ‘experimental philosophers’, have argued that such appeals can carry little or no evidential weight, and that standard analytic philosophy is consequently methodologically bankrupt. Various defences of intuitions, and analytic philosophy, have also been offered. In this paper I review the case against intuitions, in particular the claims that intuitions vary with culture, and are built by natural selection, and argue that much of their (...)
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  37.  19
    “Very Like a Whale”: Analogies About the Mind Need Salient Similarity to Convey Information.David Spurrett & Jeffrey Martin - 2010 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (4):350-351.
    Knobe relies on unhelpful analogies in stating his main thesis about the mind. It isn't clear what saying the mind works, or doesn't work, or means. We suggest he should say that some think that human cognition respects a ban on fallacies of relevance, where considerations actually irrelevant to truth are taken as evidence. His research shows that no such ban is respected.
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  38.  18
    Editorial: New Developments at the SAJP.Deane-Peter Baker, Simon Beck & David Spurrett - 2006 - South African Journal of Philosophy 25 (2):89-90.
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  39.  17
    A Map of Where? Problems with the “Transparency” Dimension.David Spurrett - 2014 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 37 (1):100-101.
  40. Beyond Determinism.D. Spurrett - 1997 - South African Journal of Philosophy 16 (1):14-22.
  41.  38
    Three Ways of Worrying About 'Causation'.David Spurrett & Don Ross - unknown
    Our point of departure is Russell’s (1913) argument for the ‘complete extrusion’ of the word ‘cause’ from the philosophical vocabulary. We argue that at least three different types of philosophical project concerning ‘cause’ should be carefully distinguished, and that failures to distinguish them lie at the root of some apparently recalcitrant problems. We call them the ‘cognitive’, the ‘scientific’ and the ‘metaphysical’.
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  42.  37
    What About Embodiment?David Spurrett - 2003 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 26 (5):620-620.
    I present reasons for adding an embodiment criterion to the list defended by Anderson & Lebiere (A&L). I also entertain a likely objection contending that embodiment is merely a type of dynamic behavior and is therefore covered by the target article. In either case, it turns out that neither connectionism nor ACT-R do particularly well when it comes to embodiment.
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  43.  33
    Information Processing and Dynamical Systems Approaches Are Complementary.David Spurrett - 2002 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25 (5):639-640.
    Shanker & King (S&K) trumpet the adoption of a “new paradigm” in communication studies, exemplified by ape language research. Though cautiously sympathetic, I maintain that their argument relies on a false dichotomy between “information” and “dynamical systems” theory, and that the resulting confusion prevents them from recognizing the main chance their line of thinking suggests.
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  44.  15
    An Eye for an Eye: Reciprocity and the Calibration of Redress.Andrew Dellis & David Spurrett - 2013 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 36 (1):20 - 20.
    General systems for reciprocity explain the same phenomena as the target article's proposed revenge system, and can explain other cooperative phenomena. We need more reason to hypothesise a specific revenge system. In addition, the proposed calculus of revenge is less sensitive to absolute magnitudes of revenge than it should be.
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  45.  27
    Behavioral (Pico)Economics and the Brain Sciences.Don Ross & David Spurrett - 2005 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28 (5):659-660.
    Supporters of Ainslie's model face questions about its integration with neuroscience. Although processes of value estimation may well turn out to be locally implemented, methodological reasons suggest this is less likely in the case of subpersonal “interests.”.
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  46.  11
    Cui Bono? Selfish Goals Need to Pay Their Way.David Spurrett - 2014 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 37 (2):155-156.
  47.  10
    Текущая сессия контакты копирайт.D. Spurrett - 1999 - South African Journal of Philosophy 18 (2):258-274.
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  48.  20
    Evolutionary Psychology and Functionally Empty Metaphors.Don Ross & David Spurrett - 2006 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (2):192-193.
    Lea & Webley's (L&W's) non-exclusive distinction between tool-like and drug-like motivators is insufficiently discriminating to say much about money that is useful, as the distinction's equivocal application to sex, food, and drugs shows. Further, it appears as though the motivations of problem gamblers are non-metaphorically like those of drug addicts. (Published Online April 5 2006).
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  49.  19
    Putting Infants in Their Place.David Spurrett & Andrew Dellis - 2004 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (4):524-525.
    The interests of mother and infants do not exactly coincide. Further, infants are not merely objects of attempted control by mothers, but the sources of attempts to control what mothers do. Taking account of the ways in which this is so suggests an enriched perspective on mother-infant interaction and on the beginnings of conventionalized signaling.
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  50. Reward Discounting and Severity of Disordered Gambling in a South African Population.David Spurrett, Jacques Rousseau & Don Ross - unknown
    People differ in the extent to which they discount the values of future rewards. Behavioural economists measure these differences in terms of functions that describe rates of reduced valuation in the future – temporal discounting – as these vary with time. They measure differences in preference for risk – differing rates of probability discounting – in terms of similar functions that describe reduced valuation of rewards as the probability of their delivery falls. So-called ‘impulsive’ people, including people disposed to addiction, (...)
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