The aim of this paper is to present a version of the principle of alternate possibilities which is not susceptible to the Frankfurt-style counter-example. I argue that PAP does not need to be endorsed as a necessary condition for moral responsibility and, in fact, presenting PAP as a sufficient condition maintains its usefulness as a maxim for moral accountability whilst avoiding Frankfurt-style counter-examples. In addition, I provide a further sufficient condition for moral responsibility – the twin world condition – and (...) argue that this provides a means of justifying why the protagonist in Frankfurt-style scenarios is still felt to be morally responsible. I conclude with the claim that neither the amended PAP nor the twin world condition is necessary for the ascription of moral responsibility; rather, what is necessary is simply that one of these conditions is satisfied. (shrink)
In this paper I discuss the role played by disturbed phenomenology in accounting for the formation and maintenance of the Capgras delusion. Whilst endorsing a two-stage model to explain the condition, I nevertheless argue that traditional accounts prioritise the role played by some form of second-stage cognitive disruption at the expense of the significant contribution made by the patient’s disturbed phenomenology, which is often reduced to such uninformative descriptions as “anomalous” or “strange”. By advocating an interactionist model, I argue that (...) the delusional belief constitutes an attempt on the part of the patient to explain his/her initially odd and somewhat disturbed phenomenal content and, moreover, that the delusion then structures the patient’s experience such that what he/she perceives is an impostor. This fact is used to explain the delusional belief’s maintenance and resistance to revision. Thus, whilst accepting that second-stage cognitive disruption has a part to play in explaining the Capgras delusion, the emphasis here is placed on the role played by the patient’s changing phenomenal content and its congruence with the delusional belief. Unlike traditional two-stage models, which posit a unidirectional progression from experience to belief, the interactionist model advocates a two-way interaction between bottom-up and top-down processes. The application of this model to other delusional beliefs is also considered. (shrink)
Video games are currently available which permit the virtual murder of children. No such games are presently available which permit virtual paedophilia. Does this disparity reflect a morally justifiable position? Focusing solely on different player motivations, I contrast two version of a fictitious game—one permitting the virtual murder of children, the other virtual paedophilia—in order to establish whether the selective prohibition of one activity over the other can be morally justified based on player motivation alone. I conclude that it cannot, (...) for reasons discussed. (shrink)
Theories of thought insertion have tended to favour either the content of the putatively alien thought or some peculiarity within the experience itself as a means of explaining why the subject differentiates one thought from another in terms of personal ownership. There are even accounts that try to incorporate both of these characteristics. What all of these explanations share is the view that it is unexceptional for us to experience thought as our own. The aim of this paper is to (...) consider the means by which this awareness of the myness of thought occurs. Why is it that I, as the subject of thought, typically experience a thought as mine? Using research which investigates the development of a child’s awareness of the act of thinking, I will evaluate leading explanations of thought insertion. It is my contention that by understanding the means by which the awareness of one’s ownership of thought develops, we can better assess explanations of thought insertion; and whilst, at present, no theory is fully able to explain the condition, the incorporation of developmental research suggest that we should favour one in particular. (shrink)
Ethics in the Virtual World examines the gamer's enactment of taboo activities in the context of both traditional and contemporary philosophical approaches to morality. The book argues that it is more productive to consider what individuals are able to cope with psychologically than to determine whether a virtual act or representation is necessarily good or bad. The book raises pertinent questions about one of the most rapidly expanding leisure pursuits in western culture: should virtual enactments warrant moral interest? Should there (...) be a limit to what can be enacted or represented within these games? Or, is it all just a game? (shrink)
After severe brain injury, one of the key challenges for medical doctors is to determine the patient’s prognosis. Who will do well? Who will not do well? Physicians need to know this, and families need to do this too, to address choices regarding the continuation of life supporting therapies. However, current prognostication methods are insufficient to provide a reliable prognosis. -/- Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) holds considerable promise for improving the accuracy of prognosis in acute brain injury patients. Nonetheless, (...) research on functional MRI in the intensive care unit context is ethically challenging. These studies raise several ethical issues that have not been addressed so far. In this article, Prof. Charles Weijer and his co-workers provide a framework for researchers and ethics committees to design and review these studies in an ethically sound way. (shrink)
This paper questions the view that knowledge must be articulable or at least experiential. It asserts that what distinguishes habitual yet intentional action from a mechanistic response is its grounding in a suitable claim to knowledge. However, it denies that a necessary condition for knowing how to perform an action is the ability of the subject to either articulate the particulars of that act, or experience it as appropriate.
In recent times, explanations of the Capgras delusion have tended to emphasise the cognitive dysfunction that is believed to occur at the second stage of two-stage models. This is generally viewed as a response to the inadequacies of the one-stage account. Whilst accepting that some form of cognitive disruption is a necessary part of the aetiology of the Capgras delusion, I nevertheless argue that the emphasis placed on this second-stage is to the detriment of the important role played by the (...) phenomenology underlying the disorder, both in terms of the formation and maintenance of the delusional belief. This paper therefore proposes an interactionist two-stage model in which the phenomenal experience of the Capgras patient is examined, emphasised, and its relation to top-down processing discussed. (shrink)
Recent papers on the Capgras delusion have focused on the role played by subpersonal abductive inference in the formation and maintenance of the delusional belief. In these accounts, the delusional belief is posited as the first delusion-related event of which the patient is conscious. As a consequence, an explanatory role for anomalous patient experience is denied. The aim of this paper is to challenge this revisionist position and to integrate subpersonal inference within a model of the Capgras delusion which includes (...) a role for experiential content. I argue that the following revisionist claims are problematic: (a) that a fully-formed belief enters consciousness, and (b) that this is the first conscious delusion-related event. Instead, it is my contention that a delusional thought (arrived at through subpersonal abductive inference) and an anomalous experience co-occur in consciousness prior to the formation of the delusional belief. The co-occurrence of thought and anomalous experience overcomes problems with the revisionist position resulting in an account of the Capgras delusion with greater explanatory efficacy. (shrink)
This paper contrasts an interactionist account of delusional misidentification with more traditional one- and two-stage models. Unlike the unidirectional nature of these more traditional models, in which the aetiology of the disorder is said to progress from a neurological disruption via an anomalous experience to a delusional belief, the interactionist account posits the interaction of top-down and bottom-up processes to better explain the maintenance of the delusional belief. In addition, it places a greater emphasis on the patient’s underlying phenomenal experience (...) in accounting for the specificity of the delusional content. The role played by patient phenomenology is examined in light of Ratcliffe’s recent phenomenological account. Similarities and differences are discussed. The paper concludes that a purely phenomenological account is unable to differentiate between non-delusional patient groups, who have what appear to be equivalent phenomenal experiences to patients suffering from delusional misidentification but without the delusional belief, and delusional groups, something the interactionist model is able to do. (shrink)
Explanations of Capgras delusion and prosopagnosia typically incorporate a dual-route approach to facial recognition in which a deficit in overt or covert processing in one condition is mirror-reversed in the other. Despite this double dissociation, experiences of either patient-group are often reported in the same way – as lacking a sense of familiarity toward familiar faces. In this paper, deficits in the facial processing of these patients are compared to other facial recognition pathologies, and their experiential characteristics mapped onto the (...) dual-route model in order to provide a less ambiguous link between facial processing and experiential content. The paper concludes that the experiential states of Capgras delusion, prosopagnosia, and related facial pathologies are quite distinct, and that this descriptive distinctiveness finds explanatory equivalence at the level of anatomical and functional disruption within the face recognition system. The role of skin conductance response as a measure of ‘familiarity’ is also clarified. (shrink)
Phenomenally, we can distinguish between ownership of thought (introspective awareness) and authorship of thought (an awareness of the activity of thinking), a distinction prompted by the phenomenon of thought insertion. Does this require the independence of ownership and authorship at the structural level? By employing a Kantian approach to the question of ownership of thought, I argue that a thought being my thought is necessarily the outcome of the interdependence of these two component parts (ownership and authorship). In addition, whilst (...) still employing a Kantian approach, I speculate over possible mechanisms underlying the phenomenon of thought insertion. (shrink)
Which emotion regulation strategy one uses in a given context can have profound affective, cognitive, and social consequences. It is therefore important to understand the determinants of emotion regulation choice. Many prior studies have examined person-specific, internal determinants of emotion regulation choice. Recently, it has become clear that external variables that are properties of the stimulus can also influence emotion regulation choice. In the present research, we consider whether reappraisal affordances, defined as the opportunities for re-interpretation of a stimulus that (...) are inherent in that stimulus, can shape individuals’ emotion regulation choices. We show that reappraisal affordances have stability across people and across time, and are confounded with emotional intensity for a standardised set of picture stimuli. Since emotional intensity has been shown to drive emotion regulation choice, we construct a context in which emotional intensity is separable from reappraisal affordances and use this context to show that reappraisal affordances powerfully influence emotion regulation choice even when emotional intensity and discrete emotions are taken into account. (shrink)
Many of the psychological studies carried out within virtual environments are motivated by the idea that virtual research findings are generalizable to the non-virtual world. This idea is vulnerable to the paradox of fiction, which questions whether it is possible to express genuine emotion toward a character (or event) known to be fictitious. As many of these virtual studies are designed to elicit, broadly speaking, emotional responses through interactions with fictional characters (avatars) or objects/places, the issue raised by the paradox (...) seems particularly apt. This paper assesses the extent to which the paradox of fiction constitutes a legitimate challenge to psychological research within virtual environments, and argues that any alleged conflict is in fact a product of an overly simplistic view of emotions which a more complete understanding resolves. Moreover, through a more detailed analysis of why the paradox cannot be sustained, one finds justification for the claim that emotions elicited through interactions with virtual (fictitious) objects/events are valid. However, their generalizability to the non-virtual world must still be treated with caution. (shrink)
In a recent paper, Jc Beall has employed what he calls ‘shriek rules’ in a putative solution to the long-standing ‘just false’ problem for glut theory. The purpose of this paper is twofold: firstly, I distinguish the ‘just false’ problem from another problem, with which it is often conflated, which I will call the ‘exclusion problem’. Secondly, I argue that shriek rules do not help glut theorists with either problem.
Over recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in arguments favouring intellectualism—the view that Ryle’s epistemic distinction is invalid because knowing how is in fact nothing but a species of knowing that. The aim of this paper is to challenge intellectualism by introducing empirical evidence supporting a form of knowing how that resists such a reduction. In presenting a form of visuomotor pathology known as visual agnosia, I argue that certain actions performed by patient DF can be distinguished (...) from a mere physical ability because they are (1) intentional and (2) knowledge-based; yet these actions fail to satisfy the criteria for propositional knowledge. It is therefore my contention that there exists a form of intentional action that not only constitutes a genuine claim to knowledge but, in being irreducible to knowing that, resists the intellectualist argument for exhaustive epistemic reduction. (shrink)
This paper examines the relationship between knowing how to G and the ability to G, which is typically presented in one of the following ways: knowing how to G entails the ability to G; knowing how to G does not entail the ability to G. In an attempt to reconcile these two putatively opposing positions, I distinguish between type and token actions. It is my contention that S can know how to G in the absence of an ability to \, (...) where this action is derived from an action-type, but not in the absence of the ability to perform the action-type itself \\). This refinement is an attempt to reconcile differences between intellectualism and anti-intellectualism with regard to knowledge how and ability. (shrink)
In this paper I respond to Coren’s argument against my 2016 paper in which I present a case for the principle of alternate possibilities as sufficient but not necessary for the ascription of moral responsibility ). I concede that Coren has identified aspects of my original position that are vulnerable to counter-examples. Nevertheless, through a simple amendment to my original argument I am able to respond to these counter-examples without undermining the foundations on which my 2016 paper was built. Moreover, (...) it is my contention that the main challenge Coren presents to my original paper involves making explicit that which is already implied within PAP. Therefore, while I acknowledge that my argument for PAP requires further clarification, this can be achieved without undermining my original position. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to challenge the claim that the neural activity commonly referred to as 'readiness potential' constitutes evidence for the unconscious initiation of action. Although I accept that such neural activity seriously challenges the commonly held view that one's sense of volition is causally efficacious, I nevertheless contend that much of our everyday engagement with the world is consciously initiated. Thus, a distinction is made between awareness and what the awareness is of: the latter constituting the (...) conscious decision to act in accordance with one's goal, or what I have termed intentional project. Initiation of an action in accordance with one's intentional project grounds the action in meaning, something that would be lacking in an exclusively unconscious decision to act. (shrink)
This paper aims to challenge the view that the sign present in many Frankfurt-style scenarios is insufficiently robust to constitute evidence for the possibility of an alternate decision, and therefore inadequate as a means of determining moral responsibility. I have amended Frankfurt’s original scenario, so as to allow Jones, as well as Black, the opportunity to monitor his (Jones’s) own inclination towards a particular decision (the sign). Different outcome possibilities are presented, to the effect that Jones’s awareness of his own (...) inclinations leads to the conclusion that the sign must be either (a) a prior determinate of the decision about to be made, (b) prior and indeterminate (therefore allowing for a contra-inclination decision to be made), or (c) constitutive of a decision that Jones has made but is not yet aware of. In effect, this means that, prior to the intervention of Black, Jones must have decided to do otherwise or could have so decided. Either way, although Frankfurt’s conclusion, that Jones could not have done other than he did, is upheld, the idea that he could not have decided otherwise must be rejected, and with it the view that the sign is nothing more than a flicker of freedom insufficient for assigning morally responsibility. (shrink)
Verteilung des Aktionsstromes längs zwei Nerven Die vonN. Rashevsky entwickelten Formeln für die Verteilung des Aktionsstromes in einer unendlichen Nervenfaser werden auf den Fall von zwei in Serie aneinander anliegenden Fasern verallgemeinert.Distribution du Courant d'action lelong de deux nerfs en série La théorie mathématique développée parN. Rashevsky pour le cas d'un nerf d'extension indéfinie est généralisée pour le cas d'un nerf aboutissant à distance finie à un autre nerf.
In this paper I aim to present an explanation of object permanence that is derived from an ecological account of perceptually based action. In understanding why children below a certain age do not search for occluded objects, one must first understand the process by which these children perform certain intentional actions on non-occluded items; and to do this one must understand the role affordances play in eliciting retrieval behaviour. My affordance-based explanation is contrasted with Shinskey and Munakata's graded representation account; (...) and although I do not reject totally the role representations play in initiating intentional action I nevertheless maintain that only by incorporating direct perception into an account of object permanence can a fuller understanding of this phenomenon be achieved. (shrink)
Research has established that exposure to a combination of diagnostic (i.e., relevant) and nondiagnostic (i.e., irrelevant) information results in predictions that are more regressive than predictions based on diagnostic information (Hackenbrack, 1992; Hoffman and Patton, 1997). This phenomenon has been labeled the dilution effect (e.g., Tetlock and Boettger, 1989) and has been documented when individuals make predictions. This study tests for the dilution effect when small groups make predictions, and examines the effect of using a procedure designed to reduce the (...) dilution effect. Results indicate that group predictions are influenced by nondiagnostic information in the same manner as are individual predictions, and allowing participants to rate the diagnosticity of information prior to making predictions does not reduce the dilution effect. (shrink)
This paper is premised on the idea that cyberspace permits the user a degree of somatic flexibility?a means of transcending the physical body but not, importantly, embodiment. Set within a framework of progressive embodiment (the assumption that individuals seek to exploit somatic flexibility so as to extend the boundaries of their own embodiment?what we call the supermorphic persona), we examine the manner of this progression. Specifically, to what extent do components of embodiment?the self-as-object, the phenomenal self, and the body-schema?find authentic (...) expression within cyberspace? In addition, we also consider ways in which the issue of authenticity might impact on the psychological well being of the individual who seeks to transcend domains and present their supermorphic persona on- and offline. (shrink)