The Epistemic Objection says that certain theories of time imply that it is impossible to know which time is absolutely present. Standard presentations of the Epistemic Objection are elliptical—and some of the most natural premises one might fill in to complete the argument end up leading to radical skepticism. But there is a way of filling in the details which avoids this problem, using epistemic safety. The new version has two interesting upshots. First, while Ross Cameron alleges that the Epistemic (...) Objection applies to presentism as much as to theories like the growing block, the safety version does not overgeneralize this way. Second, the Epistemic Objection does generalize in a different, overlooked way. The safety objection is a serious problem for a widely held combination of views: “propositional temporalism” together with “metaphysical eternalism”. (shrink)
Evidence does not support the claim that observers universally recognize basic emotions from signals on the face. The percentage of observers who matched the face with the predicted emotion (matching score) is not universal, but varies with culture and language. Matching scores are also inflated by the commonly used methods: within-subject design; posed, exaggerated facial expressions (devoid of context); multiple examples of each type of expression; and a response format that funnels a variety of interpretations into one word specified by (...) the experimenter. Without these methodological aids, matching scores are modest and subject to various explanations. (shrink)
We explore the view that Frege's puzzle is a source of straightforward counterexamples to Leibniz's law. Taking this seriously requires us to revise the classical logic of quantifiers and identity; we work out the options, in the context of higher-order logic. The logics we arrive at provide the resources for a straightforward semantics of attitude reports that is consistent with the Millian thesis that the meaning of a name is just the thing it stands for. We provide models to show (...) that some of these logics are non-degenerate. (shrink)
The counterpart theorist has a problem: there is no obvious way to understand talk about actuality in terms of counterparts. Fara and Williamson have charged that this obstacle cannot be overcome. Here I defend the counterpart theorist by offering systematic interpretations of a quantified modal language that includes an actuality operator. Centrally, I disentangle the counterpart relation from a related notion, a ‘representation relation’. The relation of possible things to the actual things they represent is variable, and an adequate account (...) of modal language must keep track of the way it is systematically shifted by modal operators. I apply my account to resolve several puzzles about counterparts and actuality. In technical appendices, I prove some important logical results about this ‘representational’ counterpart system and its relationship to other modal systems. (shrink)
This paper argues that for the purposes of any sort of serious discussion about immoral conduct in sport very little is illuminated by claiming that the conduct in question is cheating. In fact, describing some behavior as cheating is typically little more than expressing strong, but thoroughly vague and imprecise, moral disapproval or condemnation of another person or institution about a wide and ill-defined range of improper advantage-seeking behavior. Such expressions of disapproval fail to distinguish cheating from many other types (...) of immoral conduct. The discussion shows that we should set the concept aside and assess the moral disapproval implied by claims of cheating by reference to the moral and other principles that underlie the practice of sport. This allows us to consider carefully the complexity of the issues that are raised when allegations of cheating are made and not be distracted by the emotionally loaded, conversation-stopping tendency of the concept. This means that some types of disputes in sport will be messy and demand more effort to resolve, but the payoff will be better informed and more thoughtful discussions and greater awareness of the moral complexity of sport and of its principled underpinnings. (shrink)
Autism continues to fascinate researchers because it is both debilitating in its effects and complex in its nature and origins. The prevalent theory is that autism is primarily characterised by difficulties in understanding mental concepts, but the contributors to this book present new and compelling arguments for an alternative theory. Their research points strongly to the idea that autism is primarily a disorder of "executive functions", those involved in the control of action and thought. As such, the book provides a (...) new and controversial perspective on this important question. (shrink)
Here are two ways space might be (not the only two): (1) Space is “pointy”. Every finite region has infinitely many infinitesimal, indivisible parts, called points. Points are zero-dimensional atoms of space. In addition to points, there are other kinds of “thin” boundary regions, like surfaces of spheres. Some regions include their boundaries—the closed regions—others exclude them—the open regions—and others include some bits of boundary and exclude others. Moreover, space includes unextended regions whose size is zero. (2) Space is “gunky”.1 (...) Every region contains still smaller regions—there are no spatial atoms. Every region is “thick”—there are no boundary regions. Every region is extended. Pointy theories of space and space-time—such as Euclidean space or Minkowski space—are the kind that figure in modern physics. A rival tradition, most famously associated in the last century with A. N. Whitehead, instead embraces gunk.2 On the Whiteheadian view, points, curves and surfaces are not parts of space, but rather abstractions from the true regions. Three different motivations push philosophers toward gunky space. The first is that the physical space (or space-time) of our universe might be gunky. We posit spatial reasons to explain what goes on with physical objects; thus the main reason.. (shrink)
David Lewis holds that a single possible world can provide more than one way things could be. But what are possible worlds good for if they come apart from ways things could be? We can make sense of this if we go in for a metaphysical understanding of what the world is. The world does not include everything that is the case—only the genuine facts. Understood this way, Lewis's “cheap haecceitism” amounts to a kind of metaphysical anti-haecceitism: it says there (...) aren't any genuine facts about individuals over and above their qualitative roles. (shrink)
Episodic memory is usually regarded in a Conceptualist light, in the sense of its being dependent upon the grasp of concepts directly relevant to the act of episodic recollection itself, such as a concept of past times and of the self as an experiencer. Given this view, its development is typically timed as being in the early school-age years. We present a minimalist, Non-Conceptualist approach in opposition to this view, but one that also exists in clear contrast to the kind (...) of minimalism espoused by Clayton and Dickinson with regard to memory in food-caching birds. While emphasising the nonconceptual elements of episodic memory we also insist on the essentially phenomenological nature of the memory. We propose the third year of life as a plausible onset period. Our view is rooted in Kantian assumptions about the spatiotemporal content of experience and about the synthetic unity of experience—and thus of re-experience. We answer two objections to this position. (shrink)
This paper argues that human psychological resilience is a central virtue in sport and in human life generally. Despite its importance, it is an overlooked virtue in philosophy of sport and classical and contemporary virtue theory. The phenomenon of human resilience has received a great deal of attention recently in other quarters, however. There is a large and instructive empirical psychological literature on resilience, but connections to virtue theory are rarely drawn and there is no agreement about what the concept (...) refers to. This paper attempts to clarify the concept of resilience and explain how it fits into and supports a traditional Aristotelian conception of virtue. It shows how resilience figures centrally in sport and can extend and enrich our understanding of virtue and success in sport and of sport's internal values. The investigations into the nature of resilience in sport can also help us to understand better sport's contributions to human culture and well-being. (shrink)
Assessing children's episodic future thinking by having them select items for future use may be assessing their functional reasoning about the future rather than their future episodic thinking. In an attempt to circumvent this problem, we capitalised on the fact that episodic cognition necessarily has a spatial format (Clayton & Russell, 2009; Hassabis & Maguire, 2007). Accordingly, we asked children of 3, 4, and 5 to chose items they would need to play a game (blow football) from the opposite side (...) of the table on which they had never before played. The crucial item was the box that was needed by children to reach the table from the other side. Over four experiments, we demonstrated that, while children of 3 perform poorly on future questions and children of 5 generally perform quite well, children of 4 years find a question about what they themselves will need to play in the future harder to answer than a similar question posed about another child. We suggest that this result is due to the 'growth error' of over-applying newly-developed Level 2 perspective-taking skills (Flavell et al., 1981), which encourages the selection of non-functional items. The data are discussed in terms of perspective-taking abilities in children and of the neural correlates of episodic cognition, navigation, and theory of mind. (shrink)
This paper is a response to Nicholas Dixon's defence of the moderate partisan as the ideal fan of team sports. For Dixon, the moderate partisan is someone who combines a partisan fan's loyalty for a particular team with a purist fan's desire to see fair and skilful play by all participants. My aim is to argue that there is no ideal fan of team sports. In particular, there is nothing specially commendable about the moderate partisan's loyalty that justifies the claim (...) to be the ideal fan. There are many other ways of being a fan than being a purist or a partisan as described by Dixon. None of them is morally superior to the other, assuming that they meet basic requirements of respect for others and for fair play. I argue that the commitment of partisan fans to particular teams is better explained by other values than the moral virtue of loyalty. A better explanation and justification of partisanship, and indeed of fan interest in sport generally, is found in the human attachment to narrative as a way of creating meaning in our lives. (shrink)
How should a group with different opinions (but the same values) make decisions? In a Bayesian setting, the natural question is how to aggregate credences: how to use a single credence function to naturally represent a collection of different credence functions. An extension of the standard Dutch-book arguments that apply to individual decision-makers recommends that group credences should be updated by conditionalization. This imposes a constraint on what aggregation rules can be like. Taking conditionalization as a basic constraint, we gather (...) lessons from the established work on credence aggregation, and extend this work with two new impossibility results. We then explore contrasting features of two kinds of rules that satisfy the constraints we articulate: one kind uses fixed prior credences, and the other uses geometric averaging, as opposed to arithmetic averaging. We also prove a new characterisation result for geometric averaging. Finally we consider applications to neighboring philosophical issues, including the epistemology of disagreement. (shrink)
Some philosophers respond to Leibniz’s “shift” argument against absolute space by appealing to antihaecceitism about possible worlds, using David Lewis’s counterpart theory. But separated from Lewis’s distinctive system, it is difficult to understand what this doctrine amounts to or how it bears on the Leibnizian argument. In fact, the best way of making sense of the relevant kind of antihaecceitism concedes the main point of the Leibnizian argument, pressing us to consider alternative spatiotemporal metaphysics.
Izard (2010) did not seek a descriptive definition of emotion—one that describes the concept as it is used by ordinary folk. Instead, he surveyed scientists’ prescriptive definitions—ones that prescribe how the concept should be used in theories of emotion. That survey showed a lack of agreement today and thus raised doubts about emotion as a useful scientific concept.
This article explores the idea that Core Affect provides the emotional quality to any conscious state. Core Affect is the neurophysiological state always accessible as simply feeling good or bad, energized or enervated, even if it is not always the focus of attention. Core Affect, alone or more typically combined with other psychological processes, is found in the experiences of feeling, mood and emotion, including the subjective experiences of fear, anger and other so-called basic emotions which are commonly thought to (...) be raw, primitive, and universal. (shrink)
Language development is one of the major battle grounds within the humanities and sciences. This book presents, for the first time, an impartial account of the three dominant theories of language development. Written to be accessible for those within developmental psychology, philosophy, and linguistics, the book provides the reader with the information they need in order make up their own mind about this much debated issue.
Famous results by David Lewis show that plausible-sounding constraints on the probabilities of conditionals or evaluative claims lead to unacceptable results, by standard probabilistic reasoning. Existing presentations of these results rely on stronger assumptions than they really need. When we strip these arguments down to a minimal core, we can see both how certain replies miss the mark, and also how to devise parallel arguments for other domains, including epistemic “might,” probability claims, claims about comparative value, and so on. A (...) popular reply to Lewis's results is to claim that conditional claims, or claims about subjective value, lack truth conditions. For this strategy to have a chance of success, it needs to give up basic structural principles about how epistemic states can be updated—in a way that is strikingly parallel to the commitments of the project of dynamic semantics. (shrink)
Recent work on the early development of episodic memory in my laboratory has been fuelled by the following assumption: if episodic memory is re-experiential memory then Kant’s analysis of the spatiotemporal nature of experience should constrain and positively influence theories of episodic memory development. The idea is that re-experiential memory will “inherit” these spatiotemporal features. On the basis of this assumption, Russell and Hanna (Mind and Language 27(1):29–54, 2012) proposed that (a) the spatial element of re-experience is egocentric and (b) (...) that the temporal element of re-experiencing involves order/simultaneity. The first of these assumptions is immediately problematic for two reasons. In the first place, if we assume that early episodic recall mediated by processing in the hippocampus, then (a) is clearly in tension with the fact that spatial coding in the hippocampus is allocentric/environment-centred. Second, two of our own recent experiments (described here) show that when only egocentric cues are available in a What/When/Where episodic memory task it is not possible to distinguish young children’s performance from semantic memory. I argue that this tension should be resolved by recognising that the egocentric coding of the original experience as being of an objective scene relies upon allocentric representations and these are preserved in re-experiential memory, allowing a recollection of the objective nature of the scene on which one takes a subjective view. (shrink)
Some hold that the lesson of Russell’s paradox and its relatives is that mathematical reality does not form a ‘definite totality’ but rather is ‘indefinitely extensible’. There can always be more sets than there ever are. I argue that certain contact puzzles are analogous to Russell’s paradox this way: they similarly motivate a vision of physical reality as iteratively generated. In this picture, the divisions of the continuum into smaller parts are ‘potential’ rather than ‘actual’. Besides the intrinsic interest of (...) this metaphysical picture, it has important consequences for the debate over absolute generality. It is often thought that ‘indefinite extensibility’ arguments at best make trouble for mathematical platonists; but the contact arguments show that nominalists face the same kind of difficulty, if they recognize even the metaphysical possibility of the picture I sketch. (shrink)