It is widely held that individuals who are unable to provide informed consent should be enrolled in clinical research only when the risks are low, or the research offers them the prospect of direct benefit. There is now a rich literature on when the risks of clinical research are low enough to enroll individuals who cannot consent. Much less attention has focused on which benefits of research participation count as ‘direct’, and the few existing accounts disagree over how this crucial (...) concept should be defined. This disagreement raises concern over whether those who cannot consent, including children and adults with severe dementia, are being adequately protected. The present paper attempts to address this concern by considering first what additional protections are needed for these vulnerable individuals. This analysis suggests that the extant definitions of direct benefits either provide insufficient protection for research subjects or pose excessive obstacles to appropriate research. This analysis also points to a modified definition of direct benefits with the potential to avoid these two extremes, protecting individuals who cannot consent without blocking appropriate research. (shrink)
Philosophical interest in introspection has a long and storied history, but only recently – with the 'scientific turn' in philosophy of mind – have philosophers sought to ground their accounts of introspection in psychological data. In particular, there is growing awareness of how evidence from clinical and developmental psychology might be brought to bear on long-standing debates about the architecture of introspection, especially in the form of apparent dissociations between introspection and third-person mental-state attribution. It is less often noticed that (...) this evidence needs to be interpreted with due sensitivity to distinctions between different types of introspection, for example, introspection of propositional attitudes vs. introspection of phenomenally conscious states. As contemporary debates about the machinery of introspection – and debates about mindreading in general – move forward, these distinctions are likely to figure more prominently. Author Recommends: Peter Carruthers, 'Simulation and Self-Knowledge: A Defense of Theory-Theory', in Theories of Theories of Mind, eds. P. Carruthers and P. K. Smith, 22–38. Defends a sophisticated form of the theory-theory of introspection, according to which we come to know at least some of our mental states by reasoning from an innate folk-psychological theory. Fred Dretske, 'Introspection', in Naturalizing the Mind, 39–63. Introduces and defends the idea of introspection as 'displaced perception'. Alvin Goldman, 'Self-Attribution', in Simulating Minds: The Philosophy, Psychology, and Neuroscience of Mindreading, 223–57. Defends a version of the 'inner sense' view of introspection in which mental state types are classified via their neural properties, and mental contents are classified via 'redeployment'. Alison Gopnik, 'How We Read Our Own Minds: The Illusion of First-Person Knowledge of Intentionality', Behavioral and Brain Sciences 16 : 1–14. A noted psychologist defends a version of the theory-theory of introspection, citing evidence of developmental symmetries between first-person and third-person mental-state attribution. Robert Gordon, 'Simulation without Introspection or Inference from Me to You', in Mental Simulation: Evaluations and Applications, eds. T. Stone and M. Davies, 53–67. Develops the idea of ascent routines – the rough analog of 'displaced perception' for the introspection of propositional attitudes. Uta Frith and Francesca Happé, 'Theory of Mind and Self-Consciousness: What Is It Like to Be Autistic?'Mind and Language 14 : 1–14. Appeals to evidence from autism to motivate the idea that first-person and third-person mental-state attribution have a common basis. Shaun Nichols and Stephen Stich, 'Reading One's Own Mind', in Mindreading: An Integrated Account of Pretence, Self-awareness, and Understanding other Minds, 150–99. Presents a comprehensive critique of leading theories of introspection, then introduces and defends the authors' preferred alternative, the 'monitoring mechanism' account. Jesse Prinz, 'The Fractionation of Introspection', Journal of Consciousness Studies 11 : 40–57. Develops the idea that introspection admits of several varieties. Philip Robbins, 'Knowing Me, Knowing You: Theory of Mind and the Machinery of Introspection', Journal of Consciousness Studies 11 : 129–43. Defends a hybrid view of introspection for propositional attitudes, according to which both theoretic inference and monitoring play a role. Sample Syllabus: Week 1: Theory-theory Alison Gopnik, 'How We Read Our Own Minds: The Illusion of First-Person Knowledge of Intentionality', Behavioral and Brain Sciences 16 : 1–14. Peter Carruthers, 'Simulation and Self-Knowledge: A Defense of Theory-Theory', in Theories of Theories of Mind, eds. P. Carruthers and P. K. Smith, 22–38. Week 2: Displaced perception and semantic ascent Fred Dretske, 'Introspection', in Naturalizing the Mind, 39–63. Robert Gordon, 'Simulation without Introspection or Inference from Me to You', in Mental Simulation: Evaluations and Applications, eds. T. Stone and M. Davies, 53–67. Week 3: Monitoring theory Shaun Nichols and Stephen Stich, 'Reading One's Own Mind', in Mindreading: An Integrated Account of Pretence, Self-awareness, and Understanding Other Minds, 150–99. Week 4: Hybrid approaches Alvin Goldman, 'Self-Attribution', in Simulating Minds: The Philosophy, Psychology, and Neuroscience of Mindreading, 223–57. Philip Robbins, 'Knowing Me, Knowing You: Theory of Mind and the Machinery of Introspection', Journal of Consciousness Studies 11 : 129–43. Focus Questions:1. What distinguishes 'inside access' from 'outside access' views of introspection?2. To what extent is the theory-theoretic approach to introspection wedded to the idea that first-person and third-person mindreading are mechanistically symmetric capacities?3. What reasons are there for distinguishing between different types of introspection, and why might those taxonomic distinctions matter for theory construction in this area?4. In what sense, if any, are personality traits introspectible?5. Debates about third-person mindreading have revolved around the relative merits of theory-theory and simulation theory, whereas debates about introspection have taken a slightly different focus. For example, no one has defended a simulation-theoretic account of introspection. Why might that be? (shrink)
Robbins, Francis, and Rutledge documented the personality profile of Church of England clergymen and clergywomen prior to the ordination of the first women to the priesthood in 1994, drawing on Eysenck’s three-dimensional model of personality. They found that the personality profiles of clergymen and clergywomen were indistinguishable. The present paper reports a comparable study conducted in 2004 among 182 clergywomen and 540 clergymen serving in similar parochial posts in order to examine whether the ordination of women to the priesthood (...) had impacted the overall personality profile of Anglican clergy. The data suggest that little change had taken place between the two cohorts of clergy studied. Once again clergywomen and clergymen appeared to be formed in the same image. (shrink)
Alexis de Tocqueville once wrote that "the people reign over the American political world like God over the universe," unwittingly casting democracy as the political instantiation of the death of God. According to Jeffrey W. Robbins, Tocqueville's assessment remains an apt observation of modern democratic power, which does not rest with a sovereign authority but operates as a diffuse social force. By linking radical democratic theory to a contemporary fascination with political theology, Robbins envisions the modern experience of (...) democracy as a social, cultural, and political force transforming the nature of sovereign power and political authority. Robbins joins his work with Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri's radical conception of "network power," as well as Sheldon Wolin's notion of "fugitive democracy," to fashion a political theology that captures modern democracy's social and cultural torment. This approach has profound implications not only for the nature of contemporary religious belief and practice but also for the reconceptualization of the proper relationship between religion and politics. Challenging the modern, liberal, and secular assumption of a neutral public space, Robbins conceives of a postsecular politics for contemporary society that inextricably links religion to the political. While effectively recasting the tradition of radical theology as a political theology, this book also develops a comprehensive critique of the political theology bequeathed by Carl Schmitt. It marks an original and visionary achievement by the scholar the _Journal of the American Academy of Religion_ hailed "one of the best commentators on religion and postmodernism.". (shrink)
"Radical theology" and "political theology" are terms that have gained a lot of currency among philosophers of religion today. In this visionary new book, Jeffrey W. Robbins explores the contemporary direction of these movements as he charts a course for their future. Robbins claims that radical theology is no longer bound by earlier thinking about God and that it must be conceived of as postsecular and postliberal. As he engages with themes of liberation, gender, and race, Robbins (...) moves beyond the usual canon of death-of-God thinkers, thinking "against" them as much as "with" them. He presents revolutionary thinking in the face of changing theological concepts, from reformation to transformation, transcendence to immanence, messianism to metamorphosis, and from the proclamation of the death of God to the notion of God’s plasticity. (shrink)
From iPhones and clothing to jewelry and food, the products those of us in the developed world consume and enjoy exist only through the labor and suffering of countless others. In his new book Bruce Robbins examines the implications of this dynamic for humanitarianism and social justice. He locates the figure of the "beneficiary" in the history of humanitarian thought, which asks the prosperous to help the poor without requiring them to recognize their causal role in the creation of (...) the abhorrent conditions they seek to remedy. Tracing how the beneficiary has manifested itself in the work of George Orwell, Virginia Woolf, Jamaica Kincaid, Naomi Klein, and others, Robbins uncovers a hidden tradition of economic cosmopolitanism. There are no easy answers to the question of how to confront systematic inequality on a global scale. But the first step, Robbins suggests, is to acknowledge that we are, in fact, beneficiaries. (shrink)
Since its inception some fifty years ago, cognitive science has seen a number of sea changes. Perhaps the best known is the development of connectionist models of cognition as an alternative to classical, symbol-based approaches. A more recent - and increasingly influential - trend is that of dynamical-systems-based, ecologically oriented models of the mind. Researchers suggest that a full understanding of the mind will require systematic study of the dynamics of interaction between mind, body, and world. Some argue that this (...) new orientation calls for a revolutionary new metaphysics of mind, according to which mental states and processes, and even persons, literally extend into the environment. This book is a guide to this movement in cognitive science. Each chapter tackles either a specific area of empirical research or specific sector of the conceptual foundation underlying this research. (shrink)
Experimental philosophy is a new interdisciplinary field that uses methods normally associated with psychology to investigate questions normally associated with philosophy. The present review focuses on research in experimental philosophy on four central questions. First, why is it that people's moral judgments appear to influence their intuitions about seemingly nonmoral questions? Second, do people think that moral questions have objective answers, or do they see morality as fundamentally relative? Third, do people believe in free will, and do they see free (...) will as compatible with determinism? Fourth, how do people determine whether an entity is conscious? (shrink)
Cognitive science is shamelessly materialistic. It maintains that human beings are nothing more than complex physical systems, ultimately and completely explicable in mechanistic terms. But this conception of humanity does not ?t well with common sense. To think of the creatures we spend much of our day loving, hating, admiring, resenting, comparing ourselves to, trying to understand, blaming, and thanking -- to think of them as mere mechanisms seems at best counterintuitive and unhelpful. More often it may strike us as (...) ludicrous, or even abhorrent. We are. (shrink)
The hatchet and the seed -- A tree with deep roots -- The critical tools -- A field crystallizes -- Destruction of nature -- Construction of nature -- Degradation and marginalization -- Conservation and control -- Environmental conflict -- Environmental identity and social movement -- Where to now?
This piece criticizes Fodor's argument (in The Elm and the Expert, 1994) for the claim that Frege cases should be treated as exceptions to (broad) psychological generalizations rather than as counterexamples.
In this article, we present evidence of a bidirectional coupling between moral concern and the attribution of properties and states that are associated with experience (e.g., conscious awareness, feelings). This coupling is also shown to be stronger with experience than for the attribution of properties and states more closely associated with agency (e.g., free will, thoughts). We report the results of four studies. In the first two studies, we vary the description of the mental capacities of a creature, and assess (...) the effects of these manipulations on moral concern. The third and fourth studies examine the effects of variations in moral concern on attributions of mindedness. Results from the first two studies indicate that moral concern depends primarily on the attribution of experience, rather than the attribution of agency. The results of the latter two studies demonstrate that moral concern increases attributions of mindedness, and that this effect is stronger for attributions of experience than for attributions of agency. (shrink)
Debates about new technologies, such as crop and food genetic modification, raise pressing questions about the ways ‘experts’ and ‘ nonexperts’ communicate. These debates are dynamic, characterized by many voices contesting numerous storylines. The discoursal features, including language choices and communication strategies, of the GM debate are in some ways taken for granted and in others actively manipulated by participants. Although there are many voices, some have more influence than others. This study makes use of 50 hours of in-depth interviews (...) with GM scientists, nonexperts, and other stakeholders in the GM debate to examine this phenomenon. We uncover rhetorical devices used by scientists to characterize and ultimately undermine participation by non-experts in areas including rationality, knowledge, understanding and objectivity. Scientists engage with ‘the public’ from their own linguistic and social domain, without reflexive confirmation of their own status as part of the public and the citizenry. This raises a number of interesting ironies and contradictions, which are explored in the article. As such, it provides valuable insights into an increasingly important type of discourse. (shrink)
Bergson’s model of time (1889) is perhaps the proto-phenomenological theory. It is part of a larger model of mind (1896) which can be seen in modern light as describing the brain as supporting a modulated wave within a holographic field, specifying the external image of the world, and wherein subject and object are differentiated not in terms of space, but of time. Bergson’s very concrete model is developed and deepened with Gibson’s ecological model of perception. It is applied to the (...) problems of consciousness, direct realism, qualia and illusions. The model implies an entirely different basis for memory and cognition, and a brief overview is given for the basis of direct memory, compositionality and systematicity. (shrink)
Some accounts of mental content represent the objects of belief as structured, using entities that formally resemble the sentences used to express and report attitudes in natural language; others adopt a relatively unstructured approach, typically using sets or functions. Currently popular variants of the latter include classical and neo-classical propositionalism, which represent belief contents as sets of possible worlds and sets of centered possible worlds, respectively; and property self-ascriptionism, which employs sets of possible individuals. I argue against their contemporary proponents (...) that all three views are ineluctably plagued by generation gaps: they either overgenerate beliefs, undergenerate them, or both. (shrink)
A common approach to explaining the perception of form is through the use of static features. The weakness of this approach points naturally to dynamic definitions of form. Considering dynamical form, however, leads inevitably to the need to explain how events are perceived as time-extended—a problem with primacy over that even of qualia. Optic flow models, energy models, models reliant on a rigidity constraint are examined. The reliance of these models on the instantaneous specification of form at an instant, t, (...) or across a series of such instants forces the consideration of the primary memory supporting both the perception of time-extended events and the time-extension of consciousness. This cannot be reduced to an integration over space and time. The difficulty of defining the basis for this memory is highlighted in considerations of dynamic form in relation to scales of time. Ultimately, the possibility is raised that psychology must follow physics in a more profound approach to time and motion. (shrink)
Contemporary literature investigating the significant impact of technology on our lives leads many to conclude that ethics must be a part of the discussion at an earlier stage in the design process i.e., before a commercial product is developed and introduced. The problem, however, is the question regarding how ethics can be incorporated into an earlier stage of technological development and it is this question that we argue has not yet been answered adequately. There is no consensus amongst scholars as (...) to the kind of ethics that should be practiced, nor the individual selected to perform this ethical analysis. One school of thought holds that ethics should have pragmatic value in research and design and that it should be implemented by the engineers and/or scientists themselves, while another school of thought holds that ethics need not be so pragmatic. For the latter, the ethical reflection can aim at a variety of goals, and be carried out by an ethicist. None of the approaches resulting from these lines of thinking have been adopted on a wide-scale basis. To that end, the approach presented here is intended to bridge the gap between these schools of thought. It is our contention that ethics ought to be pragmatic and to provide utility for the design process and we maintain that adequate ethical reflection, and all that it entails, ought to be conducted by an ethicist. Thus, we propose a novel role for the ethicist—the ethicist as designer—who subscribes to a pragmatic view of ethics in order to bring ethics into the research and design of artifacts—no matter the stage of development. In this paper we outline the series of steps that a pragmatic value analysis entails: uncovering relevant values, scrutinizing these values and, working towards the translation of values into technical content. In conclusion, we present a list of tasks for the ethicist in his/her role as designer on the interdisciplinary team. (shrink)
This is a review of "The Case for Qualia" (Ed., Edmund Wright). The review is in three parts. In Part 1, I briefly lay out the general metaphysic in which the debate on qualia has been unfolding. I term it the classical or spatial metaphysic. In Part 2, we traverse the essays and relate them – the problems with which they grapple, the pitfalls they encounter – to this classic metaphysic. In Part 3, I will briefly sketch out a transformed (...) metaphysic – a temporal metaphysic – along with the model of the origin of the image of the external world, with all its qualia, that this model entails. It happens to be both the metaphysic and the concrete model of the brain developed by Bergson (1896/1912), and it happens to be an approach to the subject neglected, with nary a reference, in the collection. (shrink)
In proposing that their model can operate in the concrete, perceptual world, Rogers & McClelland (R&M) have not done justice to the complexities of the ecological sphere and its invariance laws. The structure of concrete events forces a different framework, both for retrieval of events and concepts defined across events, than that upon which the proposed model, rooted in essence in the verbal learning tradition, implicitly rests.
While reading, and thinking about how to respond to, Willem Drees’s Religion, Science and Naturalism, I was reminded of an earlier dispute between George Santayana and John Dewey about, among other things, how to incorporate religion into a naturalistic world view. Dewey described Santayana’s naturalism as "broken backed" because of his dualistic distinction between the mechanism of nature and the life of the mind and his relegation of religion to the latter, epiphenomenal realm.
No international agreement has been completely effective in reducing slavery. This stems in part from the evolution of slavery agreements and the inclination on the part of the authors of conventions to include other practices as part of the slavery defintion, resulting in a confusion of the practices and definitions of slavery. What has been missing is a classification that is dynamic and yet sufficiently universal to identify slavery no matter how it evolves. We have attempted to build on theories (...) and examples to clarify the identification of slavery by focusing on an irreducible core of three elements. Assessing the presence of all three can then be applied to a variety of social relationships: first, the complete control of one personal by another; second, appropriation of labor power; and third, the enforcement of these conditoins by threats or acts of violence. Many practices identified in international agreements have some but not all of these three aspects; all three are present in traditional forms of slavery, bonded labor, forced prostitution, and sexual slavery. Effective research and legislation against slavery is important, as it affects an estimated 27 million people worldwide, and as slavery is on the increase now that many developing countries are forced to compete for income in a global economy. Finally it is important to remember that slavery, like all social and economic relationships, evolves over time. Any definition that is based on a historical form of slavery will soon lose its power to capture new forms of slavery within its aegis. Our understanding and our definition of slavery must become as dynamic as the phenomenon itself. (shrink)
Bergson, writing in 1896, anticipated “sensorimotor contingencies” under the concept that perception is “virtual action.” But to explain the external image, he embedded this concept in a holographic framework where time-motion is an indivisible and the relation of subject/object is in terms of time. The target article's account of qualitative visual experience falls short for lack of this larger framework. [Objects] send back, then, to my body, as would a mirror, their eventual influence; they take rank in an order corresponding (...) to the growing or decreasing powers of my body. The objects which surround my body reflect its possible action upon them. – Henri Bergson (1896/1912, pp. 6–7). (shrink)
Wegner's thesis that the experience of will is an illusion is not just wrong, it is an impediment to progress in psychology. We discuss two readings of Wegner's thesis and find that neither can motivate his larger conclusion. Wegner thinks science requires us to dismiss our experiences. Its real promise is to help us to make better sense of them.