A primary proposal of the Cowan target article is that capacity limits arise in working memory because only 4 chunks of information can be attended at one time. This implies a single, unitary attentional focus or resource; we instead propose that relatively independent attentional mech- anisms operate within different cognitive subsystems depending on the demands of the current stimuli and tasks.
The chapter takes structuralism to be the thesis that if F and G are alike causally, then F and G are the same property. It follows that our beliefs about the world can be true in various brain-in-a-vat scenarios, giving us refuge from skeptical arguments. The trouble is that structuralism doesn’t do justice to certain metaphysical aspects of property identity having to do with fundamentality, intrinsicality, and the unity of the world. A closely related point is that the relation…lies-at-some-spatial-distance-from…obeys necessary (...) truths that need not apply to other relations with the same causal profile. This observation is especially important if, as David Lewis argued, the only alternatives to skepticism are structuralism and an anti-Humean stance toward modality. Some pertinent views of David Chalmers’s are discussed, and parallels are drawn between the structuralist response to skepticism and functionalism in the philosophy of mind. (shrink)
Peer review is a widely accepted instrument for raising the quality of science. Peer review limits the enormous unstructured influx of information and the sheer amount of dubious data, which in its absence would plunge science into chaos. In particular, peer review offers the benefit of eliminating papers that suffer from poor craftsmanship or methodological shortcomings, especially in the experimental sciences. However, we believe that peer review is not always appropriate for the evaluation of controversial hypothetical science. We argue that (...) the process of peer review can be prone to bias towards ideas that affirm the prior convictions of reviewers and against innovation and radical new ideas. Innovative hypotheses are thus highly vulnerable to being “filtered out” or made to accord with conventional wisdom by the peer review process. Consequently, having introduced peer review, the Elsevier journal Medical Hypotheses may be unable to continue its tradition as a radical journal allowing discussion of improbable or unconventional ideas. Hence we conclude by asking the publisher to consider re-introducing the system of editorial review to Medical Hypotheses. (shrink)
Matthias Vogel challenges the belief, dominant in contemporary philosophy, that reason is determined solely by our discursive, linguistic abilities as communicative beings. In his view, the medium of language is not the only force of reason. Music, art, and other nonlinguistic forms of communication and understanding are also significant. Introducing an expansive theory of mind that accounts for highly sophisticated, penetrative media, Vogel advances a novel conception of rationality while freeing philosophy from its exclusive attachment to linguistics. (...) class='Hi'>Vogel's media of reason treats all kinds of understanding and thought, propositional and nonpropositional, as important to the processes and production of knowledge and thinking. By developing an account of rationality grounded in a new conception of media, he raises the profile of the prelinguistic and nonlinguistic dimensions of rationality and advances the Enlightenment project, buffering it against the postmodern critique that the movement fails to appreciate aesthetic experience. Guided by the work of Jürgen Habermas, Donald Davidson, and a range of media theorists, including Marshall McLuhan, Vogel rebuilds, if he does not remake, the relationship among various forms of media -- books, movies, newspapers, the Internet, and television -- while offering an original and exciting contribution to media theory. (shrink)
Subjunctivitis is the doctrine that what is distinctive about knowledge is essential modal in character, and thus is captured by certain subjunctive conditionals. One principal formulation of subjunctivism invokes a ``sensitivity condition'' (Nozick, De Rose), the other invokes a ``safety condition'' (Sosa). It is shown in detail how defects in the sensitivity condition generate unwanted results, and that the virtues of that condition are merely apparent. The safety condition is untenable also, because it is too easily satisfied. A powerful motivation (...) for adopting subjunctivism would be that it provides a solution to the problem of misleading evidence, but in fact, it does not. (shrink)
For some time, it seemed that one had to choose between two sharply different theories of epistemic justification, foundationalism and coherentism. Foundationalists typically held that some beliefs were certain, and, hence, basic. Basic beliefs could impart justification to other, non-basic beliefs, but needed no such support themselves. Coherentists denied that there are any basic beliefs; on their view, all justified beliefs require support from other beliefs. The divide between foundationalism and coherentism has narrowed lately, and Susan Haack attempts to synthesize (...) these competing accounts into a view she calls "foundherentism.". (shrink)
This remarkably clear and comprehensive account of empirical knowledge will be valuable to all students of epistemology and philosophy. The author begins from an explanationist analysis of knowing—a belief counts as knowledge if, and only if, its truth enters into the best explanation for its being held. Defending common sense and scientific realism within the explanationist framework, Alan Goldman provides a new foundational approach to justification. The view that emerges is broadly empiricist, counteracting the recently dominant trend that rejects that (...) framework entirely. Topics treated include the Gettier problem, the nature of explanation and inductive inference, the justification of foundations for knowledge in terms of inference to the best explanation, the possibility of realist interpretations of contemporary science, reference, and the relations between empirical psychology and epistemology. Professor Goldman defends the need for a foundational theory of justification and presents a version that refutes standard criticisms of that doctrine. His defense of realism takes into account contemporary advances in semantics and philosophy of science. It attempts to clarify the kinds of skeptical argument the philosopher must take seriously, without succumbing to them. While recent epistemology has tended to dismiss the traditional foundational approach, it has not provided a suitable alternative. Goldman breaks new ground by adapting that approach within his explanationist, inductive theory. (shrink)