Fundamental physics makes no clear use of causal notions; it uses laws that operate in relevant respects in both temporal directions and that relate whole systems across times. But by relating causation to evidence, we can explain how causation fits in to a physical picture of the world and explain its temporal asymmetry. This paper takes up a deliberative approach to causation, according to which causal relations correspond to the evidential relations we need when we decide on one thing in (...) order to achieve another. Tamsin's taking her umbrella is a cause of her staying dry, for example, if and only if her deciding to take her umbrella for the sake of staying dry is adequate grounds for believing she'll stay dry. This correspondence explains why causation matters: knowledge of causal structure helps us make decisions that are evidence of outcomes we seek. The account also explains why we can control the future and not the past, and why causes come before their effects. When agents properly deliberate, their decisions can never count as evidence for any outcomes they may seek in the past. From this it follows that causal relations don't run backwards. This deliberative asymmetry is itself traced back to asymmetries of evidence and entropy, providing a new way of deriving causal asymmetry from temporally symmetric laws. (shrink)
Humans’ attitudes towards an event often vary depending on whether the event has already happened or has yet to take place. The dread felt at the thought of a forthcoming examination turns into relief once it is over. People also value past events less than future ones – offering less pay for work already carried out than for the same work to be carried out in the future, as recent research in psychology shows. This volume brings together philosophers and psychologists (...) with a shared interest in such psychological past/future asymmetries. It asks questions such as: What different kinds of psychological past/future asymmetries are there, and how are they related? Under what conditions do humans exhibit them? To what extent do they reflect features of time itself, or particular beliefs people have about time? Are they rational, or at least rationally permissible, or should we aspire to being temporally neutral? What exactly does temporal neutrality consist in? (shrink)
It seems self-evident that people prefer painful experiences to be in the past and pleasurable experiences to lie in the future. Indeed, it has been claimed that, for hedonic goods, this preference is absolute (Sullivan, 2018). Yet very little is known about the extent to which people demonstrate explicit preferences regarding the temporal location of hedonic experiences, about the developmental trajectory of such preferences, and about whether such preferences are impervious to differences in the quantity of envisaged past and future (...) pain or pleasure. We find consistent evidence that, all else being equal, adults and children aged 7 and over prefer pleasure to lie in the future and pain in the past and believe that other people will too. They also predict that other people will be happier when pleasure is in the future rather than the past but sadder when pain is the future rather than the past. Younger children have the same temporal preferences as adults for their own painful experiences, but prefer their pleasure to lie in the past, and do not predict that others’ levels of happiness or sadness vary dependent on whether experiences lie in the past or the future. However, from the age of 7, temporal preferences were typically abandoned at the earliest opportunity when the quantity of past pain or pleasure was greater than the quantity located in the future. Past-future preferences for hedonic goods emerge early developmentally but are surprisingly flexible. (shrink)
When we deliberate about what to do, we appear to be free to decide on different options. Three accounts use ordinary beliefs to explain this apparent freedom—appealing to different types of ‘epistemic freedom’. When an agent has epistemic freedom, her evidence while deliberating does not determine what decision she makes. This ‘epistemic gap’ between her evidence and decision explains why her decision appears free. The varieties of epistemic freedom appealed to might look similar. But there is an important difference. Two (...) rely on an agent's ability to justifiably form beliefs unconstrained by evidence, and identify decisions as beliefs—either beliefs about acts or about decisions. But, when used to explain apparent freedom, these accounts face serious problems: they imply that agents have epistemic freedom over evidence-based beliefs, and rely on a faulty notion of justification. Underlying these troubles, it turns out that these accounts presuppose an unexplained apparent ability to form different beliefs. A third variety of epistemic freedom uses ignorance conditions instead (Levi and Kapitan). We appear free partly because we’re ignorant of what we’ll decide. Ignorance-based accounts avoid the above problems, and remain a promising alternative. (shrink)
We standardly evaluate counterfactuals and abilities in temporally asymmetric terms—by keeping the past fixed and holding the future open. Only future events depend counterfactually on what happens now. Past events do not. Conversely, past events are relevant to what abilities one has now in a way that future events are not. Lewis, Sider and others continue to evaluate counterfactuals and abilities in temporally asymmetric terms, even in cases of backwards time travel. I’ll argue that we need more temporally neutral methods. (...) The past shouldn’t always be held fixed, because backwards time travel requires backwards counterfactual dependence. Future events should sometimes be held fixed, because they’re in the causal history of the past, and agents have evidence of them independently of their decisions now. We need temporally neutral methods to maintain connections between causation, counterfactuals and evidence, and if counterfactuals are used to explain the temporal asymmetry of causation. (shrink)
Do time travellers retain their normal freedom and abilities when they travel back in time? Lewis, Horwich and Sider argue that they do. Time-travelling Tim can kill his young grandfather, his younger self, or whomever else he pleases—and so, it seems can reasonably deliberate about whether to do these things. He might not succeed. But he is still just as free as a non-time traveller. I’ll disagree. The freedom of time travellers is limited by a rational constraint. Tim can’t reasonably (...) deliberate on killing his grandfather, certain that he’ll fail. If Tim follows his evidence, and appropriately self-predicts, he will be certain he won’t kill his grandfather. So if Tim is both evidentially and deliberatively rational, he can’t deliberate on killing his grandfather. This result has consequences. Firstly, it shows how evidential limits in the actual world contribute to our conception of the future as open. Secondly, it undercuts arguments against the possibility of time travel. Thirdly, it affects how we evaluate counterfactuals in time travel worlds, as well as our own. I’ll use the constraint to motivate an evidential and temporally neutral method of evaluating counterfactuals that holds fixed what a relevant deliberating agent has evidence of, independently of her decision. Using this method, an agent’s local abilities may be affected by what happens globally at other times, including the future. (shrink)
David Albert explains why we can typically influence the future but not the past by appealing to an initial low-entropy state of the universe. And he argues that in the rare cases where we can influence the past, we cannot use this influence to knowingly gain future rewards: so it does not constitute control. I introduce an important new case in which Albert's account implies we can not only influence the past but control it: a case where our actions in (...) the present are reliably correlated with several events in the present and past. To deal with such cases, we need to appeal to epistemic conditions on deliberation: being agents requires our decisions being epistemically undetermined at the time we make them. In a world with the past-hypothesis, this implies that deliberation will typically come prior to decision. Once deliberation in this direction is established, correlations towards the past cannot then be exploited for control. To explain why we cannot effectively control the past, we need to appeal to deliberation, whether as part of a defence of Albert's account, or used independently to explain the asymmetry of control. (shrink)
There are temporal asymmetries in our attitudes towards the past and future. For example, we judge that a given amount of work is worth twice as much if it is described as taking place in the future, compared to the past :796–801, 2008). Does this temporal value asymmetry support a tensed metaphysics? By getting clear on the asymmetry’s features, I’ll argue that it doesn’t. To support a tensed metaphysics, the value asymmetry would need to not vary with temporal distance, apply (...) equally to events concerning oneself and others, and be rational and judged to be so. But evidence suggests the value asymmetry lacks these features. There are, moreover, independent arguments against its rationality. The asymmetry’s features suggest instead that it arises as an emotion-driven generalisation from a temporal bias concerning our future actions. This explanation points towards mechanisms that can play a role in explaining other instances where we generalise about the past and future, and why we’re tempted towards metaphysical pictures of time. (shrink)
Philosophical debates about the metaphysics of time typically revolve around two contrasting views of time. On the A-theory, time is something that itself undergoes change, as captured by the idea of the passage of time; on the B-theory, all there is to time is events standing in before/after or simultaneity relations to each other, and these temporal relations are unchanging. Philosophers typically regard the A-theory as being supported by our experience of time, and they take it that the B-theory clashes (...) with how we experience time and therefore faces the burden of having to explain away that clash. In this paper, we investigate empirically whether these intuitions about the experience of time are shared by the general public. We asked directly for people’s subjective reports of their experience of time—in particular, whether they believe themselves to have a phenomenology as of time’s passing—and we probed their understanding of what time’s passage in fact is. We find that a majority of participants do share the aforementioned intuitions, but interestingly a minority do not. (shrink)
Selling “existences” for $25 a shot, hypnotists in 1950s America took their soul-searching clients back before birth to access memories from their previous lives. This brief “nationwide preoccupation” with past-life regression is one of eleven episodes richly documented in Alison Winter’s history of memory in the twentieth century. It followed reports from Morey Bernstein, a Colorado businessman, that when he hypnotized a local housewife, she remembered vivid details of her life as “Bridey Murphy” in nineteenth-century Ireland. A “giddy salon (...) culture” developed in the wake of public thrill at Bridey’s precise and emotional personal memories, transmitted across incarnations. While party invitations instructed guests to “come as you were”, one teenager’s suicide note announced his desire to explore reincarnation “in person”. (shrink)
This book addresses a very real gap in existing introductory texts that define, explore, and apply key theoretical concepts within the field of film studies.' Alison L. McKee, Assistant Professor, Department of Television-Radio-Film-Theatre, San Jose State University, USA 'This is the book that film students have long been waiting for: a clear, well-written and accessible introduction to film theory. Lucid theoretical exposition and case study film analysis offer readers the most intelligible summary of theory that I have yet encountered.' (...) Paul Sutton, Head of Media, Culture and Language, Roehampton University Film theory has a reputation for being difficult. It is challenging, it takes time and it can frequently leave students feeling inadequate and frustrated. Furthermore, theory can often seem intimidating and oldfashioned and therefore it can be difficult to appreciate its modern-day relevance. Understanding Film Theory aims to disassociate theory from these negative connotations and bring a fresh, modern and accessible approach to the discipline. Each of the fifteen chapters provides an insight into the main areas of debate by introducing key ideas and thinkers. Taking the application of theory as its central theme, the book incorporates a number of exciting and innovative features: 'Reflect and Respond' sections encourage readers to engage critically with theoretical concepts, while seminal texts are concisely summarized without oversimplifying key points. Throughout the book the authors illustrate why theory is important and demonstrate how it can be applied in a meaningful way, with relevant case studies drawn from both classic and contemporary cinema including: Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), Run Lola Run (1998), Moulin Rouge! (2001), Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002), Old Boy (2003), Brokeback Mountain (2005), Mamma Mia! (2008) and Avatar (2009). Additional case studies address key genres ('swashbucklers' and the film musical), film movements (Dogme 95), individual actors (Christian Bale, Judi Dench and Amitabh Bachchan) and directors (Alfred Hitchcock and Guillermo del Toro). Understanding Film Theory is an accessible and comprehensive introduction to film theory. It is the ideal entry point for any student studying film, using clear definitions and explaining complex ideas succinctly. Christine Etherington-Wright is a Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at University of Portsmouth (UK) where she teaches a course on Film Theory. She is the author of Gender, Professions, Discourse (Palgrave, 2008). Ruth Doughty is a Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at University of Portsmouth (UK). She is one of the co-founding editors of the journal Transnational Cinemas and co-edited Sound and Music in Film and Visual Media (2008). (shrink)
A collection of newly commissioned papers on themes from David Albert's Time and Chance (HUP, 2000), with replies by Albert. Confirmed contributors: Sean Carroll, Sidney Felder, AlisonFernandes, Mathias Frisch, Nick Huggett, Jenann Ismael, Doug Kutach, Barry Loewer, Tim Maudlin, Chris Meacham, David Wallace, and Eric Winsberg.
This paper introduces a new, expanded range of relevant cognitive psychological research on collaborative recall and social memory to the philosophical debate on extended and distributed cognition. We start by examining the case for extended cognition based on the complementarity of inner and outer resources, by which neural, bodily, social, and environmental resources with disparate but complementary properties are integrated into hybrid cognitive systems, transforming or augmenting the nature of remembering or decision-making. Adams and Aizawa, noting this distinctive complementarity argument, (...) say that they agree with it completely: but they describe it as “a non-revolutionary approach” which leaves “the cognitive psychology of memory as the study of processes that take place, essentially without exception, within nervous systems.” In response, we carve out, on distinct conceptual and empirical grounds, a rich middle ground between internalist forms of cognitivism and radical anti-cognitivism. Drawing both on extended cognition literature and on Sterelny’s account of the “scaffolded mind” (this issue), we develop a multidimensional framework for understanding varying relations between agents and external resources, both technological and social. On this basis we argue that, independent of any more “revolutionary” metaphysical claims about the partial constitution of cognitive processes by external resources, a thesis of scaffolded or distributed cognition can substantially influence or transform explanatory practice in cognitive science. Critics also cite various empirical results as evidence against the idea that remembering can extend beyond skull and skin. We respond with a more principled, representative survey of the scientific psychology of memory, focussing in particular on robust recent empirical traditions for the study of collaborative recall and transactive social memory. We describe our own empirical research on socially distributed remembering, aimed at identifying conditions for mnemonic emergence in collaborative groups. Philosophical debates about extended, embedded, and distributed cognition can thus make richer, mutually beneficial contact with independently motivated research programs in the cognitive psychology of memory. (shrink)
I argue that understanding why p involves a kind of intellectual know how and differsfrom both knowledge that p and knowledge why p (as they are standardly understood).I argue that understanding, in this sense, is valuable.
This paper problematises the ways women’s leadership has been understood in relation to male leadership rather than on its own terms. Focusing specifically on ethical leadership, we challenge and politicise the symbolic status of women in leadership by considering the practice of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. In so doing, we demonstrate how leadership ethics based on feminised ideals such as care and empathy are problematic in their typecasting of women as being simply the other to men. We apply (...) different strategies of mimesis for developing feminist leadership ethics that does not derive from the masculine. This offers a radical vision for leadership that liberates the feminine and women’s subjectivities from the masculine order. It also offers a practical project for changing women’s working lives through relationality, intercorporeality, collective agency and ethical openness with the desire for fundamental political transformation in the ways in which women can lead. (shrink)
In Feminist, Queer, Crip Alison Kafer imagines a different future for disability and disabled bodies. Challenging the ways in which ideas about the future and time have been deployed in the service of compulsory able-bodiedness and able-mindedness, Kafer rejects the idea of disability as a pre-determined limit. She juxtaposes theories, movements, and identities such as environmental justice, reproductive justice, cyborg theory, transgender politics, and disability that are typically discussed in isolation and envisions new possibilities for crip futures and feminist/queer/crip (...) alliances. This bold book goes against the grain of normalization and promotes a political framework for a more just world. (shrink)
John Fischer and Mark Ravizza defend in this book a painstakingly constructed analysis of what they take to be a core condition of moral responsibility: the notion of guidance control. The volume usefully collects in one place ideas and arguments the authors have previously published in singly or jointly authored works on this and related topics, as well as various refinements to those views and some suggestive discussions that aim to show how their account of guidance control might fit into (...) a more comprehensive account of moral responsibility. (shrink)
We propose that children employ specialized cognitive systems that allow them to recover an accurate “causal map” of the world: an abstract, coherent, learned representation of the causal relations among events. This kind of knowledge can be perspicuously understood in terms of the formalism of directed graphical causal models, or “Bayes nets”. Children’s causal learning and inference may involve computations similar to those for learning causal Bayes nets and for predicting with them. Experimental results suggest that 2- to 4-year-old children (...) construct new causal maps and that their learning is consistent with the Bayes net formalism. (shrink)
In this paper, we aim to show that the framework of embedded, distributed, or extended cognition offers new perspectives on social cognition by applying it to one specific domain: the psychology of memory. In making our case, first we specify some key social dimensions of cognitive distribution and some basic distinctions between memory cases, and then describe stronger and weaker versions of distributed remembering in the general distributed cognition framework. Next, we examine studies of social influences on memory in cognitive (...) psychology, and identify the valuable concepts and methods to be extended and embedded in our framework; we focus in particular on three related paradigms: transactive memory, collaborative recall, and social contagion. Finally, we sketch our own early studies of individual and group memory developed within our framework of distributed cognition, on social contagion of autobiographical memories, collaborative flashbulb memories, and memories of high school at a high school reunion. We see two reciprocal benefits of this conceptual and empirical framework to social memory phenomena: that ideas about distributed cognition can be honed against and tested with the help of sophisticated methods in the social cognitive psychology of memory; and conversely, that a range of social memory phenomena that are as yet poorly understood can be approached afresh with theoretically motivated extensions of existing empirical paradigms. (shrink)
The Beloved Self is about the holy grail of moral philosophy, an argument against egoism that proves that we all have reasons to be moral. Part One introduces three different versions of egoism. Part Two looks at attempts to prove that egoism is false, and shows that even the more modest arguments that do not try to answer the egoist in her own terms seem to fail. But in part Three, Hills defends morality and develops a new problem for egoism, (...) an epistemological problem. She shows that it is not epistemically rational to believe the most plausible versions of egoism. The first part of the book will be most relevant to those interested in moral theory, as it contains detailed discussions of recent interpretations of virtue ethics and especially of Kant's moral theory. The second and third part of the book turn to epistemology, particularly moral epistemology, and include an account of the relationship between knowledge and action, a new theory of moral understanding, and a discussion of the epistemically rational response to various kinds of disagreement. Hills also defends a new account of virtue and of morally worthy action. (shrink)
Understanding causal structure is a central task of human cognition. Causal learning underpins the development of our concepts and categories, our intuitive theories, and our capacities for planning, imagination and inference. During the last few years, there has been an interdisciplinary revolution in our understanding of learning and reasoning: Researchers in philosophy, psychology, and computation have discovered new mechanisms for learning the causal structure of the world. This new work provides a rigorous, formal basis for theory theories of concepts and (...) cognitive development, and moreover, the causal learning mechanisms it has uncovered go dramatically beyond the traditional mechanisms of both nativist theories, such as modularity theories, and empiricist ones, such as association or connectionism. (shrink)
We hypothesised that belief in conspiracy theories would be predicted by the general tendency to attribute agency and intentionality where it is unlikely to exist. We further hypothesised that this tendency would explain the relationship between education level and belief in conspiracy theories, where lower levels of education have been found to be associated with higher conspiracy belief. In Study 1 participants were more likely to agree with a range of conspiracy theories if they also tended to attribute intentionality and (...) agency to inanimate objects. As predicted, this relationship accounted for the link between education level and belief in conspiracy theories. We replicated this finding in Study 2, whilst taking into account beliefs in paranormal phenomena. These results suggest that education may undermine the reasoning processes and assumptions that are reflected in conspiracy belief. (shrink)
Alison Wylie is one of the few full-time academic philosophers of the social and historical sciences on the planet today. And fortunately for us, she happens to specialise in archaeology! After emerging onto the archaeological theory scene in the mid-1980s with her work on analogy, she has continued to work on philosophical questions raised by archaeological practice. In particular, she explores the status of evidence and ideals of objectivity in contemporary archaeology: how do we think we know about the (...) past? Her other key interests include feminist initiatives in Anglo-American archaeology, and ethical conflicts in current archaeological practice. Kathryn Denning recently asked about her adventures in archaeology and academia and her thoughts on archaeology’s past, present, and future. (shrink)
This paper argues that Spinoza does not take extension in space to be a fundamental property of physical things. This means that when Spinoza calls either substance or a mode “an Extended thing”, he does not mean that it is a thing extended in three dimensions. The argument proceeds by showing, first, that Spinoza does not associate extension in space with substance, and second, that finite bodies, or physical things, are not understood through the intellect when they are conceived as (...) extended in space. I conclude by articulating some suggestions about where we should go from here in trying to understand Spinoza’s account of the attribute of extension and of the physical world. (shrink)
Analysis of online mathematics forums can help reveal how explanation is used by mathematicians; we contend that this use of explanation may help to provide an informal conceptualization of simplicity. We extracted six conjectures from recent philosophical work on the occurrence and characteristics of explanation in mathematics. We then tested these conjectures against a corpus derived from online mathematical discussions. To this end, we employed two techniques, one based on indicator terms, the other on a random sample of comments lacking (...) such indicators. Our findings suggest that explanation is widespread in mathematical practice and that it occurs not only in proofs but also in other mathematical contexts. Our work also provides further evidence for the utility of empirical methods in addressing philosophical problems. (shrink)
In this long-awaited compendium of new and newly revised essays, Alison Wylie explores how archaeologists know what they know. -/- Preprints available for download. Please see entry for specific article of interest.
En Sutton 2012, Catherine Sutton presenta una nueva e interesante solución al mayor problema al que se enfrenta el co-ubicacionismo : el problema de la fundamentación. Sin embargo, si es correcto rechazar la tesis defendida por Sutton según la cual los trozos o pedazos de materia están extrínsecamente compuestos,entonces su respuesta al problema de la fundamentación resulta incompleta. Además, es difícil ver cómo podría completarse.
This short article argues that an adequate response to the implications for governance raised by ‘Big Data’ requires much more attention to agency and reflexivity than theories of ‘algorithmic power’ have so far allowed. It develops this through two contrasting examples: the sociological study of social actors used of analytics to meet their own social ends and the study of actors’ attempts to build an economy of information more open to civic intervention than the existing one. The article concludes with (...) a consideration of the broader norms that might contextualise these empirical studies, and proposes that they can be understood in terms of the notion of voice, although the practical implementation of voice as a norm means that voice must sometimes be considered via the notion of transparency. (shrink)
Delusional beliefs have sometimes been considered as rational inferences from abnormal experiences. We explore this idea in more detail, making the following points. Firstly, the abnormalities of cognition which initially prompt the entertaining of a delusional belief are not always conscious and since we prefer to restrict the term “experience” to consciousness we refer to “abnormal data” rather than “abnormal experience”. Secondly, we argue that in relation to many delusions (we consider eight) one can clearly identify what the abnormal cognitive (...) data are which prompted the delusion and what the neuropsychological impairment is which is responsible for the occurrence of these data; but one can equally clearly point to cases where this impairments is present but delusion is not. So the impairment is not sufficient for delusion to occur. A second cognitive impairment, one which impairs the ability to evaluate beliefs, must also be present. Thirdly (and this is the main thrust of our chapter) we consider in detail what the nature of the inference is that leads from the abnormal data to the belief. This is not deductive inference and it is not inference by enumerative induction; it is abductive inference. We offer a Bayesian account of abductive inference and apply it to the explanation of delusional belief. (shrink)
Integrative and naturalistic philosophy of mind can both learn from and contribute to the contemporary cognitive sciences of dreaming. Two related phenomena concerning self-representation in dreams demonstrate the need to bring disparate fields together. In most dreams, the protagonist or dream self who experiences and actively participates in dream events is or represents the dreamer: but in an intriguing minority of cases, self-representation in dreams is displaced, disrupted, or even absent. Working from dream reports in established databanks, we examine two (...) key forms of polymorphism of self-representation: dreams in which I take an external visuospatial perspective on myself, and those in which I take someone else's perspective on events. In remembering my past experiences or imagining future or possible experiences when awake, I sometimes see myself from an external or 'observer' perspective. By relating the issue of perspective in dreams to established research traditions in the study of memory and imagery, and noting the flexibility of perspective in dreams, we identify new lines of enquiry. In other dreams, the dreamer does not appear to figure at all, and the first person perspective on dream events is occupied by someone else, some other person or character. We call these puzzling cases 'vicarious dreams' and assess some potential ways to make sense of them. Questions about self-representation and perspectives in dreams are intriguing in their own right and pose empirical and conceptual problems about the nature of self-representation with implications beyond the case of dreaming. (shrink)
Alison Stone offers a feminist defence of the idea that sexual difference is natural, providing a new interpretation of the later philosophy of Luce Irigaray. She defends Irigaray's unique form of essentialism and her rethinking of the relationship between nature and culture, showing how Irigaray's ideas can be reconciled with Judith Butler's performative conception of gender, through rethinking sexual difference in relation to German Romantic philosophies of nature. This is the first sustained attempt to connect feminist conceptions of embodiment (...) to German idealist and Romantic accounts of nature. Not merely an interpretation of Irigaray, this book also presents an original feminist perspective on nature and the body. It will encourage debate on the relations between sexual difference, essentialism, and embodiment. (shrink)
Many philosophers endorse the ideal of justice yet disagree radically over what that ideal requires. One persistent problem for thinking about justice is that the unjust social arrangements that originally motivated our questions may also distort our thinking about possible answers. This paper suggests some strategies for improving our thinking about justice in the unjust meantime. As our world becomes more just, we may expect our thinking about justice to improve.
I will introduce six constraints that should guide the formulation and use of DE. One goal in listing them is to engage in dialectical fair play by ruling out criticisms of the doctrine that are directed at misformulations of DE or that result from misapplications of it. Each of these constraints should be acceptable to any proponent of DE. Yet when these constraints on the application of DE are respected, it becomes clear that many of the examples provided as illustrations (...) of DE actually illustrate other, more interesting uses of the contrast between intention and foresight. (shrink)