Professor Jessica Utts and I were given the task of evaluating the program on "Anomalous Mental Phenomena" carried out at SRI International (formerly the Stanford Research Institute) from 1973 through 1989 and continued at SAIC (Science Applications International Corporation) from 1992 through 1994. We were asked to evaluate this research in terms of its scientific value. We were also asked to comment on its potential utility for intelligence applications.
A major part of the mind–body problem is to explain why a given set of physical processes should give rise to perceptual qualities of one sort rather than another. Colour hues are the usual example considered here, and there is a lively debate as to whether the results of colour vision science can provide convincing explanations of why colours actually look the way they do. The internal phenomenological structure of colours is considered here in some detail, and a comparison is (...) drawn with sounds and their synthesis. This paper examines the type of explanation that is needed, and it is concluded that it does not have to be reductive to be effective. What needs to be explained more than anything is why inverted hue scenarios are more intuitive than other sensory inversions: and the issue of physicalism versus dualism is argued to be of only marginal relevance. (shrink)
I read Ernst Gombrichâ€™s wonderful book Art and Illusion in 1981. Iâ€™d completed my BA a few months earlier, and I was spending a year in Geneva on a scholarship, before returning to Oxford to begin the BPhil. The topic in philosophy that interested me most at that time was perception, and I was struck by the extent to which Gombrichâ€™s arguments relied on views about visual perception that he had inherited from the Helmholtzian tradition in psychology, and therefore indirectly (...) from Locke and Kant. I thought that arguments in the philosophy of perception exposed serious mistakes and confusions in this tradition, and that they could therefore shed important light on the fascinating questions about pictorial art that Gombrich discussed in his book. (shrink)
John Hyman explores central problems in philosophy of action and the theory of knowledge, and connects these areas of enquiry in a new way. His approach to the dimensions of human action culminates in an original analysis of the relation between knowledge and rational behaviour, which provides the foundation for a new theory of knowledge itself.
Presenting an engaging critique of current criminal justice practice in the UK and USA, this book introduces central questions of criminal law theory. It develops a forceful argument that the prevailing justifications for punishment are misguided, and have resulted in the systematic infliction of unnecessary human misery.
“The longer you work, the more the mystery deepens of what appearance is, or how what is called appearance can be made in another medium."—Francis Bacon, painter This, in a nutshell, is the central problem in the theory of art. It has fascinated philosophers from Plato to Wittgenstein. And it fascinates artists and art historians, who have always drawn extensively on philosophical ideas about language and representation, and on ideas about vision and the visible world that have deep philosophical roots. (...) John Hyman’s _The Objective Eye_ is a radical treatment of this problem, deeply informed by the history of philosophy and science, but entirely fresh. The questions tackled here are fundamental ones: Is our experience of color an illusion? How does the metaphysical status of colors differ from that of shapes? What is the difference between a picture and a written text? Why are some pictures said to be more realistic than others? Is it because they are especially truthful or, on the contrary, because they deceive the eye? _The Objective Eye_ explores the fundamental concepts we use constantly in our most innocent thoughts and conversations about art, as well as in the most sophisticated art theory. The book progresses from pure philosophy to applied philosophy and ranges from the metaphysics of color to Renaissance perspective, from anatomy in ancient Greece to impressionism in nineteenth-century France. Philosophers, art historians, and students of the arts will find _The Objective Eye_ challenging and absorbing. (shrink)
I shall be mainly concerned with the question ‘What is personal propositional knowledge?’. This question is obviously quite narrowly focused, in three respects. In the first place, there is impersonal as well as personal knowledge. Second, a distinction is often drawn between propositional knowledge and practical knowledge. And third, as well as asking what knowledge is, it is also possible to ask whether and how knowledge of various kinds can be acquired: causal knowledge, a priori knowledge, moral knowledge, and so (...) on. I shall dwell briefly on each of these three points. First, there is the distinction between personal and impersonal knowledge – in other words, between the psychological concept of knowledge and the social one.1 We use the concept of knowledge to describe the cognitive condition of individuals; but we also use it to describe the progress of scientific and historical research. So for example we can speak or enquire about the state of knowledge in a particular field of biology or history. And if we do so, we are evidently not concerned with what anyone in particular knows about, say, the genetics of fruit flies or the career of Charlemagne, but rather with what the scientific or academic community knows. Needless to say, there is a close connection between personal and impersonal knowledge. But ‘It is known that p’ does not simply mean ‘Someone or other. (shrink)
theory of knowledge defended in Timothy Williamson's book Knowledge and its Limits is compared here with the theory defended in the author's articles ‘How Knowledge Works ’ and ‘ Knowledge and Self- Knowledge ’. It is argued that there are affinities between these theories, but that the latter has considerably more explanatory power.
Expressivists, such as Blackburn, analyse sentences such as 'S thinks that it ought to be the case that p' as S hoorays that p'. A problem is that the former sentence can be negated in three different ways, but the latter in only two. The distinction between refusing to accept a moral judgement and accepting its negation therefore cannot be accounted for. This is shown to undermine Blackburn's solution to the Frege-Geach problem.
There continues to be a debate on whether addiction is best understood as a brain disease or a moral condition. This debate, which may influence both the stigma attached to addiction and access to treatment, is often motivated by the question of whether and to what extent we can justly hold addicted individuals responsible for their actions. In fact, there is substantial evidence for a disease model, but the disease model per se does not resolve the question of voluntary control. (...) Recent research at the intersection of neuroscience and psychology suggests that addicted individuals have substantial impairments in cognitive control of behavior, but this "loss of control" is not complete or simple. Possible mechanisms and implications are briefly reviewed. (shrink)
1. I want to discuss a new area of scientific research called neuro-aesthetics, which is the study of art by neuroscientists. The most prominent champions of neuroaesthetics are V.S. Ramachandran and Semir Zeki, both of whom have both made ambitious claims about their work. Ramachandran says boldly that he has discovered “the key to understanding what art really is”, and that his theory of art can be tested by brain imaging experiments, although he does not describe these experiments, or explain (...) what results the theory predicts (Ramachandran and Hirstein 1999, 17). Zeki, who originally coined the term “neuro-aesthetics”, claims to have laid the foundations for understanding “the biological basis of aesthetic experience”, and to have formulated a “neurobiological definition of art” (Zeki 1999, 2, 22). If these claims are true, we are at the dawn of a new age in the study of art. Up to now, most of the people studying art have been historians, some of whom can read Latin, but hardly any of whom have mastered even the rudiments of brain science. And aesthetics has been in the hands of philosophers, who still disagree among themselves about ideas that were stated in the fourth century BC. Neuroaesthetics is different. As Ramachandran (2000, 19) says: “These ideas have the advantage that, unlike the vague notions of philosophers and art historians, they can be tested experimentally”. So, is neuro-aesthetics the next big thing? I want to assess its prospects, starting with Ramachandran. (shrink)
Recent work on dispositions offers a new solution to the long-running dispute about whether explanations of intentional action are causal explanations. The dispute seemed intractable because of a lack of percipience about dispositions and a commitment to Humean orthodoxies about causation on both sides.
The evolution of philosophy and physics seem to acknowledge that "informational existentialism" will be possible. Therefore, this contribution aims to comprehend if Heidegger existentialism can enrich the bound between information theory and the intercultural dialogue as regards to information. Even so, an important query arises: why specifically Heidegger's philosophy? Because it highlights an intercultural dialogue namely with East Asian and with Arabic philosophy, which is also consistent with the debate concerning the potential value and contribution of information theory (...) to the intercultural dialogue. Therefore, this manuscript intends to understand if information is shaping worldwide cultures as a consequence of its existence. (shrink)
This paper argues that we need to distinguish between two different ideas of a reason: first, the idea of a premise or assumption, from which a person’s action or deliberation can proceed; second, the idea of a fact by which a person can be guided, when he modifies his thought or behaviour in some way. It argues further that if we have the first idea in mind, one can act for the reason that p regardless of whether it is the (...) case that p , and regardless of whether one believes that p . But if we have the second idea in mind, one cannot act for the reason that p unless one knows that p . The last part of the paper briefly indicates how the second idea of a reason can contribute to a larger argument, showing that it is better to conceive of knowledge as a kind of ability than as a kind of belief. (shrink)
A difficulty is exposed in Allan Gibbard's solution to the embedding/Frege-Geach problem, namely that the difference between refusing to accept a normative judgement and accepting its negation is ignored. This is shown to undermine the whole solution.
In the Meno, Socrates asks why knowledge is a better guide to acting the right way than true belief. The answer he proposes is ingenious, but it fails to solve the puzzle, and some recent attempts to solve it also fail. I shall argue that the puzzle cannot be solved as long as we conceive of knowledge as a kind of belief, or allow our conception of knowledge to be governed by the contrast between knowledge and belief.
Every expressivist theory of moral language requires a solution to the Frege-Geach problem, i.e., the problem of explaining how moral sentences retain their meaning in unasserted contexts. An essential part of Blackburn’s ‘quasi-realist project’, i.e., the project of showing how we can earn the right to treat moral sentences as if they have ordinary truth-conditions, is to provide a sophisticated solution. I show, however, that simple negated contexts provide a fundamental difficulty, since accepting the negation of a sentence is easily (...) confused with merely refusing to accept that sentence. I argue that Blackburn’s model-set semantics for his ‘Hooray!’ and ‘Boo!’ operators requires logical apparatus to which he is not entitled. I consider various modifications, but show that they do not succeed. (shrink)
§1 Analytic philosophers interested in depiction have focused for the most part on two problems: first, explaining how pictures represent; second, describing the distinctive kinds of artistic value pictures can possess, or the distinctive ways in which they can embody artistic values that extend more broadly across the arts. I shall discuss the first problem here. The main concepts I shall be concerned with are depiction, resemblance, sense and reference.
I argue that itches, tickles, aches and pains—sensations of all sorts—are generally in the places where we say they are. So, for example, if I say that I have an itch in the big toe on my left foot, then, by and large, that is the very place where the itch is. James denied this in the 1890s; Russell and Broad denied it in the 1920s; Wittgenstein and Ryle denied it in the 1940s; Lewis and Armstrong denied it in the (...) 1960s; and since then various kinds of materialists have denied it. But if itches etc. are states of the sensitive parts of bodies, then it is true. (shrink)
There continues to be a debate on whether addiction is best understood as a brain disease or a moral condition. This debate, which may influence both the stigma attached to addiction and access to treatment, is often motivated by the question of whether and to what extent we can justly hold addicted individuals responsible for their actions. In fact, there is substantial evidence for a disease model, but the disease model per se does not resolve the question of voluntary control. (...) Recent research at the intersection of neuroscience and psychology suggests that addicted individuals have substantial impairments in cognitive control of behavior, but this “loss of control” is not complete or simple. Possible mechanisms and implications are briefly reviewed. (shrink)
Human agency has four irreducibly different dimensions -- psychological, ethical, intellectual, and physical -- which the traditional idea of a will tended to conflate. Twentieth-century philosophers criticized the idea that acts are caused by 'willing' or 'volition', but the study of human action continued to be governed by a tendency to equate these dimensions of agency, or to reduce one to another. Cutting across the branches of philosophy, from logic and epistemology to ethics and jurisprudence, Action, Knowledge, and Will defends (...) comprehensive theories of action and knowledge, and shows how thinking about agency in four dimensions deepens our understanding of human conduct and its causes. (shrink)
Although the societal advantages of responsible advertising are self-evident, no detailed vision of responsible ads exists. Without this vision, stakeholders have no framework for identifying, preventing, and remedying non-conforming ads. To address this problem, the four basic properties of responsible ads – consistent with an everyday-language, business-oriented definition of responsibility and the assumption that ads are not inherently bad – are posited. Then, the best milieu for creating such ads is identified.
Many of today's ads work by arousing the viewer's emotions. Although emotion-arousing ads are widely used and are commonly thought to be effective, their careless use produces a side-effect: the psychoactive ad. A psychoactive ad is any emotion-arousing ad that can cause a meaningful, well-defined group of viewers to feel extremely anxious, to feel hostile toward others, or to feel a loss of self-esteem. We argue that, because some ill-conceived psychoactive ads can cause harm, ethical issues must arise during their (...) production. Current pretesting methods cannot identify the potentially psychoactive ads; therefore, we offer some tentative guidelines for reducing the number of viewers harmed by psychoactive ads. (shrink)