Counterfactual thinking may be described as disciplined, realistic, and rational, but we move a step further to describe a theoretical perspective centering on behavior regulation. According to this perspective, counterfactual thinking primarily centers on coordination of ongoing behavior. In short, most thoughts in daily life center on the acquisition of goals; hence, counterfactual thinking may be illuminated by considering the large literature on goal cognition.
We question a central premise upon which the target article is based. Namely, we point out that the evidence for is in fact quite mixed. As such, the question of whether positive illusions are adaptive from an evolutionary standpoint may be premature in light of the fact that their very existence may be an illusion.
: To say that a work of fine art is beautiful because it has been produced by a genius introduces a determinate concept precluding a judgment of the work’s beauty by way of a pure judgment of taste. What Kant in fact proposes is that we judge a work to be the product of genius as a consequence of our judgment of its beauty. As Kant explains in KU §58, when we judge the beautiful in fine art it is the (...) indeterminacy of the mode of mental activity in which aesthetic ideas arise which permits us to interpret idealistically the purposiveness in the work, on which account we regard it as the product of genius. This article examines in particular KU §50 concerning the combination of genius and taste, and the puzzling assertion in KU §51 that all beauty is the expression of aesthetic ideas. (shrink)
Current UK legislation is impacting upon the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of medical record-based research aimed at benefiting the NHS and the public heath. Whereas previous commentators have focused on the Data Protection Act 1998, the Health and Social Care Act 2001 is the key legislation for public health researchers wishing to access medical records without written consent. The Act requires researchers to apply to the Patient Information Advisory Group for permission to access medical records without written permission. We present a (...) case study of the work required to obtain the necessary permissions from PIAG in order to conduct a large scale public health research project. In our experience it took eight months to receive permission to access basic identifying information on individuals registered at general practices, and a decision on whether we could access clinical information in medical records without consent took 18 months. Such delays pose near insurmountable difficulties to grant funded research, and in our case £560 000 of public and charitable money was spent on research staff while a large part of their work was prohibited until the third year of a three year grant. We conclude by arguing that many of the current problems could be avoided by returning PIAG’s responsibilities to research ethics committees, and by allowing “opt-out” consent for many public health research projects. (shrink)
Palliative laser therapy for gastrointestinal tumors is now well established. Its use however may be associated with complications not directly attributable to the laser therapy. These complications potentially decrease the quality of life which opposes the aim of treatment.
This cutting-edge book offers a theoretical account of the evolution of multiple memory systems of the brain. The authors conceptualize these memory systems from both behavioral and neurobiological perspectives.
There is an intriguing recent effort to develop a valid cosmological argument on the basis of quite minimal assumptions.1 Indeed, the basis of the new cosmological argument is so slight that it is likely to make even a conscientious theist suspicious – to say nothing of our vigilant atheists. In Section 1 we present the background assumptions and central premises of the new cosmological argument. We are sympathetic to the conclusion that there necessarily exists an intelligent and powerful creator of (...) the actual universe, but we show in Section 2 that the new cosmological argument cannot establish this claim. Speciﬁcally, we show by reductio ad absurdum that the new argument is unsound, and that every plausibly modiﬁed version of the argument is also unsound.2 We close our discussion with a diagnosis of what went wrong in the new cosmological argument. Our conclusion is that this intriguing new argument promises considerably more than it can show. (shrink)
In ‘Other Minds’, J.L. Austin advances a parallel between saying ‘I know’ and saying ‘I promise’: much as you are ‘prohibited’, he says, from saying ‘I promise I will, but I may fail’, you are also ‘prohibited’ from saying ‘I know it is so, but I may be wrong’. This treatment of ‘I know’ has been derided for nearly sixty years: while saying ‘I promise’ amounts to performing the act of promising, Austin seems to miss the fact that saying ‘I (...) know’ fails to constitute a performance of the act of knowing. In this paper, I advance a defense of Austin’s position. I diagnose the principal objections to Austin’s account as stemming from detractors’ failure to acknowledge: (1) that Austin never characterizes ‘I know’ as a pure performative; (2) that saying ‘I know p’, unlike simply knowing p, occurs in specific interpersonal contexts in which others rely on our knowledge claims; (3) Austin’s considered account of the felicity conditions of performative utterance; (4) Austin’s ultimate repudiation of the performative/constative distinction. I conclude that Austin’s treatment of ‘I know’ rests on a more general commitment to the intrinsically normative nature of ordinary language. (shrink)
Alice Crary has recently developed a radical reading of J. L. Austin's philosophy of language. The central contention of Crary's reading is that Austin gives convincing reasons to reject the idea that sentences have context-invariant literal meaning. While I am in sympathy with Crary about the continuing importance of Austin's work, and I think Crary's reading is deep and interesting, I do not think literal sentence meaning is one of Austin's targets, and the arguments that Crary attributes to Austin or (...) finds Austinian in spirit do not provide convincing reasons to reject literal sentence meaning. In this paper, I challenge Crary's reading of Austin and defend the idea of literal sentence meaning. (shrink)
J. L. Schellenberg’s Philosophy of Religion argues for a specific brand of sceptical religion that takes ‘Ultimism’ – the proposition that there is a metaphysically, axiologically, and soteriologically ultimate reality – to be the object to which the sceptical religionist should assent. In this article I shall argue that Ietsism – the proposition that there is merely something transcendental worth committing ourselves to religiously – is a preferable object of assent. This is for two primary reasons. First, Ietsism is far (...) more modest than Ultimism; Ietsism, in fact, is open to the truth of Ultimism, while the converse does not hold. Second, Ietsism can fulfil the same criteria that compel Schellenberg to argue for Ultimism. (shrink)
In Heidegger’s Being and Time certain concepts are discussed which are central to the ontological constitution of Dasein. This paper demonstrates the interesting manner in which some of these concepts can be used in a reading of T.S. Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. A comparative analysis is performed, explicating the relevant Heideggerian terms and then relating them to Eliot’s poem. In this way strong parallels are revealed between the two men’s respective thoughts and distinct modernist sensibilities. Prufrock, (...) the protagonist of the poem, and the world he inhabits illustrate poetically concepts such as authenticity, inauthenticity, the ‘they’, idle talk and angst, which Heidegger develops in Being and Time. (shrink)
This paper is a detailed examination of some parts of J. P. Moreland's book on "the argument from consciousness". (There is a companion article that discusses the parts of the book not taken up in this critical notice.).