—Commentary on Mikhalevich and Powell on invertebrate minds.— Whether or not arthropods are sentient, they can have moral standing. Appeals to sentience are not necessary and retard progress in human treatment of other species, including invertebrates. Other increasingly well-documented aspects of invertebrate minds are pertinent to their welfare. Even if arthropods are not sentient, they can be agents whose goals—and therefore interests—can be frustrated. This kind of agency is sufficient for moral status and requires that we consider their welfare.
Rendell and Whitehead note the necessary, complementary relationship between field and laboratory studies in other species, but conclude their article by de-emphasizing the role of laboratory findings in cetacean research. The ambiguity in field studies of cetaceans should argue for greater reliance on the laboratory, which has provided much of the available research supporting the hypothesis of cetacean culture.
Gordon Belot investigates the distinctive notion of geometric possibility that relationalists rely upon. He examines the prospects for adapting to the geometric case the standard philosophical accounts of the related notion of physical possibility, with particular emphasis on Humean, primitivist, and necessitarian accounts of physical and geometric possibility. This contribution to the debate concerning the nature of space will be of interest not only to philosophers and metaphysicians concerned with space and time, but also to those interested in laws (...) of nature, modal notions, or more general issues in ontology. (shrink)
The Structure of Emotions argues that emotion concepts should have a much more important role in the social and behavioural sciences than they now enjoy, and shows that certain influential psychological theories of emotions overlook the explanatory power of our emotion concepts. Professor Gordon also outlines a new account of the nature of commonsense (or ‘folk’) psychology in general.
Given that artificial moral agents—such as autonomous vehicles, lethal autonomous weapons, and automated financial trading systems—are now part of the socio-ethical equation, we should morally evaluate their behavior. How should artificial moral agents make decisions? Is one moral theory better suited than others for machine ethics? After briefly overviewing the dominant ethical approaches for building morality into machines, this paper discusses a recent proposal, put forward by Don Howard and Ioan Muntean (2016, 2017), for an artificial moral agent based on (...) virtue theory. While the virtuous artificial moral agent has various strengths, this paper argues that a rule-based utilitarian approach (in contrast to a strict act-utilitarian approach) is superior because it can capture the most important features of the virtue-theoretic approach while realizing additional significant benefits. Specifically, a 2-level utilitarian artificial moral agent incorporating both established moral rules and a utility calculator is especially well-suited for machine ethics. (shrink)
If the universe and God are identical, as pantheism holds, how can we reconcile the supposed unity of God with the apparent dis-unity of the universe’s elements? I argue that a powers ontology, which generates a form of pantheism under plausible assumptions, is apt to solve the problem of unity. There is reason to think that the directedness of powers is equivalent to the directedness, or intentionality, of mental states. This implies that intentionality is a feature of the physical world (...) at large, not just the mind. As Pfeifer argues, this physical intentionality represents a mild form of panpsychism that is interpretable as a brand of pantheism. I argue that the theory of powers holism explains the unity of the universe’s elements and thus the unity of a pantheistic God, and that powers holism is strengthened by fully recognizing the role of physical intentionality. (shrink)
Several philosophers of science and metaphysicians claim that the dispositional properties of fundamental particles, such as the mass, charge, and spin of electrons, are ungrounded in any further properties. It is assumed by those making this argument that such properties are intrinsic, and thus if they are grounded at all they must be grounded intrinsically. However, this paper advances an argument, with one empirical premise and one metaphysical premise, for the claim that mass is extrinsically grounded and is thus an (...) extrinsic disposition. Although the argument concerns mass characterized as a disposition, it applies equally well whether mass is a categorical or dispositional property; however, the dispositional nature of mass is relevant to some important objections and implications discussed. (shrink)
The study “Psychoanalysis—its image and its public” intimates that common sense is increasingly informed by science. But common sense asserts its autonomy and, in turn, may affect the trajectory of science. This is a process that leads to many differentiations—in common sense, in scientific innovation and in political and regulatory structures. Bauer and Gaskell's toblerone model of triangles of mediation provided a distillation of their reading of “La Psychanalyse.” Here it was argued that representations are multi-modal phenomena necessitating the (...) use of multiple methodologies .In this paper we briefly summarise these arguments and elaborate ways in which social representation theory can be considered a progressive research programme. “Progressive” because as the theory has developed it has extended the range and depth of its conceptual basis; it provides a new synthesis for the social scientific understanding of the phenomena of common sense and of representation; it acts as an antidote to the reductionism of public opinion and, finally, it is a stimulus to depart from disciplinary silos. However, there remain unresolved issues: how to segment the relevant social milieus and how to close the feedback loop from common sense to science? (shrink)
Under so-called primitive ontology approaches, in fully describing the history of a quantum system, one thereby attributes interesting properties to regions of spacetime. Primitive ontology approaches, which include some varieties of Bohmian mechanics and spontaneous collapse theories, are interesting in part because they hold out the hope that it should not be too difficult to make a connection between models of quantum mechanics and descriptions of histories of ordinary macroscopic bodies. But such approaches are dualistic, positing a quantum state as (...) well as ordinary material degrees of freedom. This paper lays out and compares some options that primitive ontologists have for making sense of the quantum state. (shrink)
It has recently been pointed out that the cloudiness of the concept of authenticity as well as inflated ideologies of the ‘true self’ provide good reasons to criticize theories and ideals of authenticity. Nevertheless, there are also good reasons to defend an ethical ideal of authenticity, not least because of its critical and oppositional force, which is directed against experiences of self-abandonment and self-alienation. I will argue for an elaborated ethical ideal of authenticity: the ambitious ideal of a continuous self-reflective (...) process of ‘self-authentication’. For this purpose, the ideal of being authentic in expressing and unfolding one’s individual personality and characteristics will be combined with the ideal of being ‘an authentic person’ - whereby ‘a person’ is to be understood in a Kantian sense as an autonomous person who is reasonable and morally responsible. (shrink)
An analytic cognitive style denotes a propensity to set aside highly salient intuitions when engaging in problem solving. We assess the hypothesis that an analytic cognitive style is associated with a history of questioning, altering, and rejecting supernatural claims, both religious and paranormal. In two studies, we examined associations of God beliefs, religious engagement, conventional religious beliefs and paranormal beliefs with performance measures of cognitive ability and analytic cognitive style. An analytic cognitive style negatively predicted both religious and paranormal beliefs (...) when controlling for cognitive ability as well as religious engagement, sex, age, political ideology, and education. Participants more willing to engage in analytic reasoning were less likely to endorse supernatural beliefs. Further, an association between analytic cognitive style and religious engagement was mediated by religious beliefs, suggesting that an analytic cognitive style negatively affects religious engagement via lower acceptance of conventional religious beliefs. Results for types of God belief indicate that the association between an analytic cognitive style and God beliefs is more nuanced than mere acceptance and rejection, but also includes adopting less conventional God beliefs, such as Pantheism or Deism. Our data are consistent with the idea that two people who share the same cognitive ability, education, political ideology, sex, age and level of religious engagement can acquire very different sets of beliefs about the world if they differ in their propensity to think analytically. (shrink)
To ascribe a telos is to ascribe a norm or standard of performance. That fact underwrites the plausibility of, say, teleological theories of mind. Teleosemantics, for example, relies on the normative character of teleology to solve the problem of “intentional inexistence”: a misrepresentation is just a malfunction. If the teleological ascriptions of such theories to natural systems, e.g., the neurological structures of the brain, are to be literally true, then it must be literally true that norms can exist independent of (...) intentional and psychological agency. Davies, for one, has argued that such norms are impossible within a naturalistic worldview. Consequently, teleological theories of mind, for example, cannot be literally true. I will show, however, that the truth conditions on normative statements do not presuppose intentional and psychological agency and, further, that a selectional regime is one naturalistic mechanism that satisfies those truth conditions. Norms, then, exist in the world independent of intentional and psychological agency. (shrink)
It is often said that the Aharonov-Bohm effect shows that the vector potential enjoys more ontological significance than we previously realized. But how can a quantum-mechanical effect teach us something about the interpretation of Maxwell's theory—let alone about the ontological structure of the world—when both theories are false? I present a rational reconstruction of the interpretative repercussions of the Aharonov-Bohm effect, and suggest some morals for our conception of the interpretative enterprise.
How should we understand the emotional rationality? This first part will explore two models of cognition and analogy strategies, test their intuition about the emotional desire. I distinguish between subjective and objective desire, then presents with a feeling from the "paradigm of drama" export semantics, here our emotional repertoire is acquired all the learned, and our emotions in the form of an object is fixed. It is pretty well in line with the general principles of rationality, especially the lowest reasonable (...) principles. Turned to the second part of this side of reasonable. I will inquire how emotional beliefs, desires, and behaviors contribute to the rationality. I will present a very general biological hypothesis: emotions by controlling highlights the characteristics of perception and reasoning, so that we remove the difficulties due in particular to lead to paralysis; they are being simulated by a simplified perception of information, thus limiting our practice and cognitive choice. How are we to understand emotional or axiological rationality? I pursue analogies with both the cognitive and the strategic models, testing them against intuitions about emotional desires. We distinguish two different classes of desires, the subjective and the objective, and propose that emotions have a semantics that derives from "paradigmatic scenarios", in terms of which our emotional repertoire is learned and the formal objects of our emotions fixed. This fits in well with emerging facts about how our emotional capacities develop, and it can also be squared with the general principles of rationality, particularly minimal rationality. In the second part, I return to the perspective of rationality. I ask how emotions contribute to the rationality of beliefs, desires, and behavior. I proffer a very general biological hypothesis: Emotions spare us the paralysis potentially induced by a particular predicament by controlling the salience of features of perception and reasoning; they temporarily mimic the informational encapsulation of perception and so circumscribe our practical and cognitive options. (shrink)
Was Descartes a Cartesian Dualist? In this controversial study, Gordon Baker and Katherine J. Morris argue that, despite the general consensus within philosophy, Descartes was neither a proponent of dualism nor guilty of the many crimes of which he has been accused by twentieth century philosophers. In lively and engaging prose, Baker and Morris present a radical revision of the ways in which Descartes' work has been interpreted. Descartes emerges with both his historical importance assured and his philosophical importance (...) redeemed. (shrink)
Recently some bioethicists and neuroscientists have argued for an imperative of chemical cognitive enhancement. This imperative is usually based on consequentialist grounds. In this paper, the topic of cognitive self-enhancement is discussed from a Kantian point of view in order to shed new light on the controversial debate. With Kant, it is an imperfect duty to oneself to strive for perfecting one’s own natural and moral capacities beyond one’s natural condition, but there is no duty to enhance others. A Kantian (...) approach does not directly lead to a duty of chemical cognitive self-enhancement, but it also does not clearly rule out that this type of enhancement can be an appropriate means to the end of self-improvement. The paper shows the benefits of a Kantian view, which offers a consistent ideal of self-perfection and teaches us a lesson about the crucial relevance of the attitude that underlies one’s striving for cognitive self-improvement: the lesson of treating oneself as an end in itself and not as mere means to the end of better output. (shrink)
This paper discusses Gordon Baker’s interpretation of the later Wittgenstein, in particular his interpretation of the notion of Wittgensteinian philosophical conceptions and the notions of non-exclusivity, local incompatibility, non-additivity and global pluralism which Baker uses to characterize Wittgensteinian conceptions. On the basis of this discussion, and a critique of certain features of Baker’s interpretation of Wittgensteinian conceptions, I introduce the notion of a multidimensional logical description of language use, explaining how this notion, which Baker’s interpretation excludes, constitutes and important (...) element of the later Wittgenstein’s philosophical method of clarification and perspicuous representation. I conclude by explaining how Baker’s problematic notions of local incompatibility and non-additivity, if they are seen in the light of Wittgenstein’s criticisms of certain views of the completeness of philosophical or logical accounts, nevertheless point in the right direction. (shrink)
While individual differences in the willingness and ability to engage analytic processing have long informed research in reasoning and decision making, the implications of such differences have not yet had a strong influence in other domains of psychological research. We claim that analytic thinking is not limited to problems that have a normative basis and, as an extension of this, predict that individual differences in analytic thinking will be influential in determining beliefs and values. Along with assessments of cognitive ability (...) and style, religious beliefs, and moral values, participants judged the wrongness of acts considered disgusting and conventionally immoral, but that do not violate care- or fairness-based moral principles. Differences in willingness to engage analytic thinking predicted reduced judgements of wrongness, independent of demographics, political ideology, religiosity, and moral values. Further, we show that those who were higher in cognitive ability were less likely to indicate that purity, patriotism, and respect for traditions and authority are important to their moral thinking. These findings are consistent with a “Reflectionist” view that assumes a role for analytic thought in determining substantive, deeply-held human beliefs and values. (shrink)
This paper considers the hotly debated issue of whether one should grant moral and legal personhood to intelligent robots once they have achieved a certain standard of sophistication based on such criteria as rationality, autonomy, and social relations. The starting point for the analysis is the European Parliament’s resolution on Civil Law Rules on Robotics and its recommendation that robots be granted legal status and electronic personhood. The resolution is discussed against the background of the so-called Robotics Open Letter, which (...) is critical of the Civil Law Rules on Robotics. The paper reviews issues related to the moral and legal status of intelligent robots and the notion of legal personhood, including an analysis of the relation between moral and legal personhood in general and with respect to robots in particular. It examines two analogies, to corporations and animals, that have been proposed to elucidate the moral and legal status of robots. The paper concludes that one should not ascribe moral and legal personhood to currently existing robots, given their technological limitations, but that one should do so once they have achieved a certain level at which they would become comparable to human beings. (shrink)
Martin Heidegger devotes extensive discussion to medieval philosophers, particularly to their treatment of Truth and Being. On both these topics, Heidegger accuses them of forgetting the question of Being and of being responsible for subjugating truth to the modern crusade for certainty: ‘truth is denied its own mode of being’ and is subordinated ‘to an intellect that judges correctly’. Though there are some studies that discuss Heidegger’s debt to and criticism of medieval thought, particularly that of Thomas Aquinas, there is (...) no constructive reply to his assertions. As a result, Heidegger’s critique had an unprecedented effect on the credibility of medieval philosophy, whereby great portions of the philosophical community dismiss it altogether as an illegitimate Onto‐Theology. It is the aim of this study to offer a constructive reply that will fundamentally grapple with these allegations. By constructive reply we mean not only a reply that avoids the problems Heidegger raises regarding existence, essence and truth, but more importantly, one that uses Heidegger’s criticism in order to present a more insightful account of these notions. The present study is composed of two parts where the second serves as a sort of addendum. The first part, the core of this study, is an attempt to develop an understanding of the distinction between essence and existence that, on the one hand, accords with Heidegger’s criticism while on the other hand advances our understanding of how we think and understand reality. After presenting Heidegger’s depiction of Aquinas’s distinction between essence and existence (esse) as a real distinction, the study will present several views propounded by scholars of Aquinas regarding the status of this distinction. It will be argued that it is not clear whether the distinction is real, formal or conceptual, and that different types of distinction are applied in different places, particularly in regard to the phantasm that Aquinas considers essential to the human act of thinking. The second part diverges from the first part and focuses on Heidegger’s criticism of Aquinas’s conception of truth as adequation, i.e., what it is that grounds the possibility of truth as adequation. This divergence is necessary in order to present a full metaphysical response to Heidegger’s criticism. Since the aim of the present study is to argue that Aquinas’s philosophical system can contend with Heidegger’s criticism, a partial reply would greatly diminish its effectiveness. (shrink)
The intellectual history of the last quarter of this century has been marked by the growing influence of Africana thought--an area of philosophy that focuses on issues raised by the struggle over ideas in African cultures and their hybrid forms in Europe, the Americas, and the Caribbean. Existentia Africana is an engaging and highly readable introduction to the field of Africana philosophy and will help to define this rapidly growing field. Lewis R. Gordon clearly explains Africana existential thought to (...) a general audience, covering a wide range of both classic and contemporary thinkers--from Douglass and DuBois to Fanon, Davis and Zack. (shrink)
An ascent routine (AR) allows a speaker to self-ascribe a given propositional attitude (PA) by redeploying the process that generates a corresponding lower level utterance. Thus, we may report on our beliefs about the weather by reporting (under certain constraints) on the weather. The chief criticism of my AR account of self-ascription, by Alvin Goldman and others, is that it covers few if any PA’s other than belief and offers no account of how we can attain reliability in identifying our (...) attitude as belief, desire, hope, etc., without presupposing some sort of recognition process. The criticism can be answered, but only by giving up a tacit—and wholly unnecessary—assumption that has influenced discussions of ascent routines. Abandoning the assumption allows a different account of ARs that avoids the criticism and even provides an algorithm for finding a corresponding lower level utterance for any PA. The account I give is supported by research on children’s first uses of a propositional attitude vocabulary. (shrink)
Recent evidence suggests that people are highly efficient at detecting conflicting outputs produced by competing intuitive and analytic reasoning processes. Specifically, De Neys and Glumicic demonstrated that participants reason longer about problems that are characterized by conflict between stereotypical personality descriptions and base-rate probabilities of group membership. However, this finding comes from problems involving probabilities much more extreme than those used in traditional studies of base-rate neglect. To test the degree to which these findings depend on such extreme probabilities, we (...) varied base-rate probabilities over five experiments and compared participants’ response time for conflict problems with non-conflict problems. Longer response times for stereotypical responses to conflict versus non-conflict problems were found only in the presence of extreme probabilities. Our results suggest that humans may not be consistently efficient at detecting conflicts during reasoning. (shrink)
This translated work is an example of the type of writing that characterized the radical school of Hegelianism in the late 1830s and 1840s in that it mirrors the arguments and irritable temper of both the liberal Hegelians and their conservative opponents during the period between the French Revolution of 1830 and the general revolutions of 1848. As such, it is a useful period piece that can enhance an appreciation of the Hegelian involvement in the theological and philosophical argumentation that (...) characterized the German Vorm rz.". (shrink)
In the past decade, digital technology, fiber optics, cellular phones, satellite television, home computers, and the Internet have substantially transformed business, education, and leisure practices. These technologies are becoming so integrated into our daily routines that their ubiquity often goes unnoticed. We are, nonetheless, in the midst of a telecommunications revolution, and the healthcare industry is becoming a major player. The burgeoning field of home-based telemedicine is evidence of this.
Following an Open conception of Divine Foreknowledge, that holds that man is endowed with genuine freedom and so the future is not definitely determined, it will be claimed that human freedom does not limit the divine power, but rather enhances it and presents us with a barrier against arbitrary use of that power. This reading will be implemented to reconcile a well-known quarrel between two important interpreters of Duns Scotus, Allan B. Wolter and Thomas Williams, each of whom supports a (...) different interpretation of the way God acts according to right reason. (shrink)
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